From 'surviving' to 'thriving'
For all the negatives of the COVID-19 pandemic, a positive can be drawn from its ripple effect in the workplace. The term coined ‘The Great Reshuffle’ refers to the way in which the pandemic has significantly changed our working world. During initial lockdowns, resignation rates rocketed, but in an unexpected turn of events, workers seized this as an opportunity to change career paths, prioritising work-life balance and moral values. As we see the light at the end of the tunnel and emerge from this health crisis, we are faced with the decision to implement the changes we wish to see in the world and to shift from ‘surviving’ to ‘thriving,’ placing social and environmental impact at the epicentre.
First and foremost, we need to know our priorities. The climate crisis is an ongoing global issue creeping up the political agenda and citizens’ moral conscience. Global warming is a two-fold issue, posing an existential threat to biodiversity as well as grave consequences for society and communities, particularly those living in developing nations. For this reason, tackling the environmental emergency is a top climate and social concern; this is where green skills, otherwise known as impact skills, can play a role. These are defined as skills that enable the environmental and social sustainability of economic activities and empower green jobs, overall contributing to achieving climate ambitions. Therefore, the solution to the problem lies in encouraging workers and employees to develop and strengthen their capacities for green skills to ultimately enable this change.
A growing demand and growing increase for green skills
An increase in demand for a positive environmental impact has resulted in a growing market for such ‘green jobs’. This further supports the need to upskill workers and employees in order to fulfil climate ambitions. The general trend of hiring workers with green skills is no new concept, in fact it has been steadily increasing for several years, just as the number of people who develop green skills has also risen, but it is simply not enough. The focus needs to shift, in fact, to green skill intensity, which can be defined as the extent to which countries, sectors and jobs utilise these skills. A 2022 LinkedIn report reinforces the claim that green skill intensity needs to increase in every country, sector and industry in order to truly achieve climate goals.
Despite increased interest and efforts to employ workers who possess green skills, there is a recognisable gap between supply and demand. That is to say that there is a higher demand for employees and candidates with green skills than there are people capable of fulfilling these positions.
The reason can be lack of motivation of employees to develop such skills, however given recent statistics on employee motivations we believe that the problem resides elsewhere. Namely in the lack of renowned, inclusive and accessible teaching opportunities on critical impact skills. Teaching opportunities on impact skills need to be accessible to people all over the world because addressing climate change and growing inequalities won’t happen by only investing in the economically developed West. People who are the closest to the challenges need to be empowered to create positive change. Furthermore, teaching opportunities should provide credentials that are recognised by employers as a proof of skill or ability. This will ensure that investing in development impact skills leads to better access to employment and personal growth prospects.
Efiko Academy has identified an effective means to overcome this challenge and break the cycle. The high demand for impact skills is a positive sign that people are conscious of their environmental and social impact, and the will to invest in teaching these skills is strong. The solution is simple: invest in human capital and upskill yourself or your employees in order to bridge this gap and achieve climate targets quicker. So why aren’t you doing it yet?
At Efiko Academy, our mission is to provide accessible training to empower key sustainability and social impact-related matters delivered by renowned experts. We also champion community and connection; by joining our learning cohort you will access our social network platform and meet like-minded impact-makers in the industry.
Our latest blog series will explore the critical skills to develop for a career in impact investing, impact measurement and impact management, so that you can ensure you have a positive environmental and social impact. Stay tuned for the next article!