Green jobs: A career option that actually impacts lives & the environment

Green jobs: A career option that actually impacts lives & the environment
Source: Pixabay
  • Green jobs or jobs in the ESG space, can be found in a wide range of industries, from renewable energy, and clean technology, to sustainable agriculture, and waste management.

  • March 2023 saw approximately 19,379 active job postings for ESG roles.

  • December 2022, and January 2023 saw the highest number of such jobs closed in India.

  • Organizations are looking for applicants with qualifications in energy, social environment, sustainable business management and environmental studies.
The Future of Jobs Report 2023, by the World Economic Forum, did strike a warning note saying that 26 million jobs will be wiped out globally by 2027. However, a macrotrend listed in the report deserves attention.

According to the report, businesses expect that the greatest net job creation impact will come from investments that support the green transformation of businesses, the wider adoption of ESG standards, and the localization of supply chains. While this is a broader trend that will change the future job landscape as much as AI will, now is perhaps the best time ever to build a career in ESG.

“ESG as an industry or segment is growing and in India while we are late at it, I think in India the main reason for ESG growth is largely because you now have the government initiatives and the target of being net zero by 2070,” says says Munira Loliwala, business head, TeamLease Digital, a tech staffing solutions firm.

Growth in ESG jobs

ESG jobs are employment opportunities centered around Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors. These roles involve responsibilities related to sustainable business practices, impact investing, corporate social responsibility, environmental preservation, social justice, diversity and inclusion, ethical governance, and related areas.

According to TeamLease Digital, between 2021 and 2022, ESG hiring and new demands grew almost by more than 147%, as compared to 2020-2021, wherein the post Covid year marked almost 85% of growth in hiring by organizations in India.

March 2023 saw approximately 19,379 of active job postings for ESG roles, while December 2022, and January 2023 saw the highest number of jobs closed. The average number of ESG jobs posted stood at 12,400 between December 2022, and March 2023, while the average number of closed positions were 14,136. The average number of active ESG related jobs were 24,000.

Organizations embracing ESG

“ESG plays an important role if India has to attract global investments. ESG increases the chances of investments or chances of the acquisitions that most of the Indian companies today are looking at,” says Loliwala.

Both big and small corporations in India have embraced ESG. Reliance Industries, for example, has integrated ESG into their business models. Led by their chief financial officer, their ESG team is a multi-disciplinary group responsible for all of Reliance’s environmental sustainability, stakeholder engagement and regulatory compliance activities.

In order to enhance their commitment to ESG principles, HDFC Bank has formed an ESG committee. This committee consists of senior members from key departments within the bank and is chaired by a member of the senior management team. The ESG committee is responsible for developing and implementing the bank's ESG strategy, as well as establishing a roadmap to achieve the set targets. They report to the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) committee of the Board of Directors, providing updates on the bank's ESG strategy and progress.

kindlife, a beauty and wellness platform which launched in 2020, has a strong ESG focus. “Our ESG goals are only achievable with a strong team who works tirelessly to bring our vision to life. We work closely with internationally renowned advisors armed with over 20 years of experience. We’ve worked closely with the World Bank and government bodies in the sustainability and clean energy space,” says Radhika Ghai, founder and CEO, kindlife. They have a team of two consultants who are guiding them with assessing their impact across various parameters and projects. They are also gearing towards their next critical goal of 100% carbon neutrality and a sustainable score for brands and products for which they are working closely with Sishir Garemella, a clean energy and climate technology expert.

Talent in demand

ESG jobs do not necessarily require skills in the sustainability domain.

“Green jobs or jobs in the ESG space, can be found in a wide range of industries, from renewable energy and clean technology to sustainable agriculture and waste management. There are three categories of green jobs based on their degree of dependence on green skills,” says Manu Saigal, director, general staffing, Adecco India.

Jobs that require green skills: These are jobs that cannot be performed without specialized knowledge of environmental sustainability. Examples include renewable energy technicians, environmental engineers, and sustainability consultants.

Jobs with significant potential to create and hone green skills: “These are jobs that are not necessarily focused on environmental sustainability but have the potential to develop green skills,” says Saigal. Examples include architects and construction workers who build energy-efficient buildings and farmers who use sustainable agriculture practices.

Jobs that do not require green skills: “These are jobs that are not specifically related to environmental sustainability but may contribute to sustainability indirectly,” says Saigal. Examples include accountants who work for green businesses and marketing professionals who promote environmentally friendly products.

The crucial aspect of ESG is now focused on proper data analysis, collection, reporting, investigation, and filing. The typical structure involves using various frameworks to collect and analyze data, which requires hiring individuals at entry-level and mid-level positions with backgrounds in computer science, mathematics, or engineering.

ESG data is considered a type of alternative data that can be utilized in the analysis of companies. As a result, investors and hedge funds are utilizing it to identify investment opportunities with lower risk by assessing a company's favourable environmental and ethical factors.

Organizations are also looking to appoint applicants who have qualifications in energy, social environment, sustainable business management and environmental studies, wind and solar energies. And one important subject could also be economics and law.

A lot of certification courses are available in this space today. There are courses on sustainability accounting, reporting and sustainable investing.

ESG job roles

Below are some of the most common ESG job roles, responsibilities and expected salaries.

Job roleResponsibilitiesEducational requirementAverage starting salary (₹ lakh/annum)
ESG AnalystResponsible for evaluating the ESG performance of companies and making investment decisionsBachelor's or master's degree in finance, economics, environmental science, or a related field6-12
Sustainability ManagerDevelop and implement sustainable business practices, manage environmental impact, and ensure compliance with ESG standardsBachelor's or master's degree in environmental science, engineering, sustainability, or a related field.7-18
CSR ManagerResponsible for developing and implementing CSR strategies, managing community engagement, and ensuring compliance with ESG standardsMaster's degree in business administration, sustainability, social work, or a related field.7-15
ESG ConsultantProvide advisory services to companies on ESG issues, including strategy development, risk assessment, and performance evaluation.Bachelor's or master's degree in business administration, finance, environmental science, or a related field5-18
Green Building ConsultantProvide guidance and support for the design and construction of sustainable buildings, ensuring compliance with ESG standardsBachelor's or master's degree in architecture, engineering, sustainability, or a related field4-10
Responsible for developing and implementing agricultural practices that optimize crop yields and ensure sustainable farmingBachelor's or master's degree in agronomy, agriculture, soil science, or a related field.4-10
Precision Agriculture SpecialistUse technology to optimize crop production by analyzing data on soil, weather, and plant health.Bachelor's or master's degree in agriculture, agronomy, or a related field, along with expertise in data analysis and precision agriculture technology5-12

Source: Adecco India

The rise of ESG jobs signifies a shift in the business landscape towards sustainability and responsible practices. As companies increasingly prioritize environmental, social, and governance factors, the demand for ESG professionals has surged, offering promising career opportunities for individuals committed to creating positive impact and driving long-term value.