When Millennials began entering the workforce, they were on a quest to find meaningful work and a balanced lifestyle. Now that Generation Z is embarking on the 9-to-5 routine, they’re demanding even greater purpose. In fact, they’re making it their top priority.
But it’s not just professionals in their 20s and 30s who want to make a notable impact in their day-to-day tasks. A survey of more than 2,200 workers in late 2018 found that 90 percent of employees would give up 23 percent of their earnings ($21,000 per year on average) for more meaningful employment.
Money talks, and it’s screaming “passion and purpose.” Impact-driven industries and socially responsible organizations that can answer will be the ones that thrive for decades to come. Enter, green jobs.
Green Jobs Offer Purpose & Pride
Our rapidly growing population places increasing pressure on our finite resources. Efforts to preserve our natural environment, and reduce the impact of human activity are becoming crucial. More and more professions are focusing on reducing our collective energy and water consumption while developing innovative ways to reuse and recycle our existing resources.
Green jobs, therefore, are essential to the health of our planet. What better way for younger and older generations alike to feel meaning and purpose through their day-to-day endeavors than by contributing to a cleaner, healthier planet? From sustainable engineering to organic farming, from renewable energy to green products, from sustainability marketing to environmental policy, there are countless green jobs that fulfill the desire for meaningful, impactful work.
Aside from preserving our environment, green jobs offer a greater sense of employee pride. When workers feel like they’re spending time at a company that helps other people or contributes to a greater good, they tend to be more passionate about their work. People seek validation from others, including their place of employment. When they’re proud of their company’s mission and feel value from their daily efforts, they’ll be more engaged and speak favorably about their employer.
Clean Energy Jobs Pay More
You may be surprised to learn that green jobs – namely those in clean energy production, energy efficiency and environmental management – earn higher wages when compared to the national average. In April 2019, Brookings released a report that indicated these three green job sectors exceeded national average salaries by 8 to 19 percent. “Clean energy economy wages are also more equitable; workers at lower ends of the income spectrum can earn $5 to $10 more per hour than other jobs,” the report states. These aren’t all engineering and science jobs either. They include roofers and refrigeration mechanics, plant operators and plumbers.
Another major finding in the Brookings study was the level of required education for many jobs. In an increasingly competitive U.S. economy, high-paying jobs for workers without secondary education degrees have started disappearing in recent years. The loss of middle-skill jobs has been a contributing factor to income inequality across the nation. However, researchers found that clean energy professionals had less formal education than the average American worker. In fact, employees who earned only a high school diploma filled more than half of energy efficiency jobs and 45 percent of clean energy production jobs.
The advanced education statistics were even more surprising:
“Fewer than 17 percent of clean energy production and energy efficiency workers hold a bachelor’s degree or more, suggesting a four-year degree is rarely required to secure the higher pay available in those sectors.”
Recent college and high school graduates (we’re looking at you, Generation Z) can apply for jobs at clean energy companies and receive on-the-job training. Those with little or no experience can also take online courses through a company like Everblue Training and become certified in energy auditing. Or, take in-person courses at a facility such as Solar Energy International (SEI) in Colorado and become a solar PV or thermal pro.
Meaningful Work Leads to Greater Employee Commitment
Employees with meaningful work stay at their job 7.4 months longer than the average employee and take two fewer paid leave days a year. Not only does impactful work lead to greater employee commitment, but it also affects their willingness to exceed expectations. If their company exists to serve others or improve the environment, then this dedication also improves society as a whole. In addition, when employees feel a sense of pride and fulfillment with their work, it creates psychological well-being. The optimism and confidence often spill over to other areas of their life and contributes to their overall sense of purpose.
Ready to find meaning and purpose through a career in clean energy? Check out the different positions on Clean Energy Jobs List. Even if you’re still in school, take a few minutes to create a free professional profile and include the skills you’re learning – you might find the internship of a lifetime.