What you need to know:
- Kenya's government and private companies have been on a hiring frenzy as they assemble an army of workers to help meet net-zero commitments and other sustainability goals.
- The boom in green jobs in Kenya is in line with the trend on the global stage where growth in demand for such skills is outpacing the rise in supply, according to LinkedIn.
You have heard of blue-collar jobs and white-collar jobs. But a new category of openings is fast emerging: the “green-collar.” It is now the hottest job as government and firms dash for sustainability.
The ratio of green talent workers — those with knowledge or skills needed to support environmental and business sustainability — is rising rapidly in line with the global race to cut carbon emissions.
Kenya's government and private companies have been on a hiring frenzy as they assemble an army of workers to help meet net-zero commitments and other sustainability goals.
Sectors not traditionally thought of as green, such as financial or tech industries, are increasingly seeking workers with green skills, with Equity Group becoming the latest to do so.
The boom in green jobs in Kenya is in line with the trend on the global stage where growth in demand for such skills is outpacing the rise in supply, according to LinkedIn — a business and employment-focused social media platform.
LinkedIn Global Green Skills Report 2023, which analysed nearly 930 million users globally, found that between February 2022 and February this year, the share of green talent in the workforce rose by a median of 12.3 per cent while the share of job postings requiring at least one green skill grew nearly twice as quickly — by a median of 22.4 per cent.
“The increase in demand for green skills is outpacing the increase in supply, raising the prospect of an imminent green skills shortage,” says LinkedIn.
“And since March 2020, our data shows, workers with green skills have been hired for new jobs at a higher rate than those without green skills in every single country we studied.”
Equity Group is currently in the market searching for a candidate to fill the position of the newly created position of group sustainability operations manager who will be in charge of environment, social, and governance (ESG) risk management.
The lender lists some of the responsibilities of the sustainability operations manager as working with teams from subsidiaries to screen transactions and ensure they are ESG compliant.
The skill sets required include a degree in sustainability or environmental science, with experience in ESG risk and climate financing listed as an added advantage.
Equity is also looking for an assistant manager for group sustainability strategy. Other sustainability-related positions it wants to fill include manager for sustainability governance and reporting.
The hiring frenzy has also triggered a silent talent war. In January, Equity for instance hired Elijah Isabu from KCB as its group head of sustainability.
Mr Isabu had served KCB for barely two years as the group sustainability manager and his exit saw KCB promote Charllotte Ludi into this position.
The talent war is in line with LinkedIn’s findings that the finance industry is greening faster than most industries, with a 14.8 per cent year-over-year increase in its green talent concentration.
Upskilling to become green is emerging as the most attractive thing. LinkedIn says the skills profile for the average job changed 24 per cent between 2015 and 2022, with green skills increasingly among the newly added skill requirements.
This is reflected in Kenya where while workers remain in their jobs such as those of corporate communication and investor relations, the jobs themselves are evolving, requiring a greater emphasis on sustainability.
Absa Bank Kenya for instance created the sustainability role and tied it up with that of communications and corporate relations. Britam Group is currently hiring a sustainability and investor relations manager.
“The holder will lead the organisation in identifying, evaluating, and managing the ESG risks and opportunities that are material to the company's performance and reputation while guiding businesses to drive improving metrics across sustainability and ESG measures and reporting,” says Britam.
KCB is also in the market looking for a digital, corporate communications, and sustainability manager for its subsidiary — National Bank of Kenya. DTB last December hired the head of sustainability and citizenship.
A continued supply-demand disconnect is likely to rise considerably without significant workforce investments — particularly in sectors such as finance, manufacturing, and renewable energy — as policies designed to curb climate change are introduced and rolled out in the country.
Skills in carbon accounting, carbon credits, emissions trading, impact assessment, and sustainability reporting are among the fastest-growing green skills in the US and UK. This trend looks set to extend to Kenya as the government eyes the sale of carbon credits to fund development.
The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa), a lobby for private firms, is currently recruiting a circular economy and research specialist.
Kepsa wants the specialist to among other things, conduct comprehensive research on circular economy, climate change, waste management, natural resource management, and environmental conservation.
The person is expected to have a bachelor's degree in areas such as environmental science, climate change, and sustainability. The person will also be required to analyse data related to resource use, product life cycles, greenhouse gases, and waste streams to identify opportunities for circularity.
Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian aid agency engaged in transitional environment is also recruiting an environmental sustainability manager to support the roll-out of country-level green teams.
The transition to a greener economy is driving green skills growth across all industries, including the most carbon-intensive, according to a LinkedIn report, which adds that green talent concentration in the oil and gas industry has steadily increased since 2016, reaching 21 per cent in 2023.
LinkedIn study says there is a global shortage in green skills penetration, with seven in eight workers lacking a single green skill, at a time when the future of the planet depends on them.
The median LinkedIn hiring rate for workers with at least one green skill is 29 per cent higher than the workforce average, cementing green skills as one of the most attractive things in the market now.
Certain green jobs are being tipped to be more likely to be available to workers without prior green job experience. These include relatively new and quickly growing roles such as sustainability manager and energy auditor.
To help meet demand, job seekers are being asked to consider adding green skills to their résumé through means such as networking, online training courses, and fellowships.
Firms want workers who can think about sustainability in their decisions every day. That means product designers, supply managers, accountants, and other workers with the knowledge to spot unsustainable practices and embrace sustainability for the overall health of their good of the company and the planet.
Other skills including remediation, recycling, and knowledge of occupational safety and health administration policy, climate change, and renewable energy are also seeing a surge in demand, according to LinkedIn.