The good news is that the New York Times “noticed” that green jobs were attracting graduates.
The bad news is that the NYT buried this important story on page “ST6 of the New York edition” under “Fashion & Style.”
The ‘ugly’ part is that when I went online, the advertisement the NYT was running with the piece was for its absurdly embarrassing partnership with the Shell Oil (see “Media stunner: NY Times partners with Shell Oil to peddle elite access“). The favicon alone is priceless.
[Hmm. Perhaps there is also a boomlet in green-washing jobs.]
Anywhere, the NYT story itself is pretty good, pointing out “a new wave of recent college graduates entering a career field that, like blogging and social media strategy, hardly existed a decade ago: environmental sustainability.” As the piece explains:
Suddenly, “sustainability” seems to resonate with the sex appeal of “dot com” or “start-up,” appealing to droves of ambitious young innovators. Amelia Byers, operations director for Idealist.org, a Web site that lists paid and unpaid opportunities for nonprofit groups and social enterprise companies — some 5,000 of which are environmental organizations — said the number of jobs related to environmental work has roughly tripled in the last three years. “A lot of new graduates are coming out of a world where volunteerism and service has been something that has helped define their generation,” she said. “Finding a job with meaning is an important value to them.”
The rapid expansion of green jobs isn’t confined to the nonprofit sector. There is money to be made here as well. Ivan Kerbel, director of career development for the Yale School of Management, a graduate-level business program, noted that environmental issues like reducing waste and carbon footprints were increasingly important to corporations of all kinds, something business students are recognizing. Even ultra-ambitious M.B.A. candidates with C-suite aspirations are integrating issues like sustainability into their education, he said.
“The leading companies have taken it on in a way that means you don’t have to feel like you’re self-ghettoized into this functional niche,” he said.
Ms. Byers attributed the growth in part to a generational shift toward “values driven” professions. Unsurprisingly, such jobs are often quite hip.
The story actually opened with a focus on Rachael Kleinberger, who quit her job “at a reality-TV production company for a position at a nonprofit organization focused on the environment.” It ends:
Ms. Kleinberger, now 26, of Santa Monica, Calif., said it was important that browbeating was not in her job description; creativity and inclusion were paramount. As part of her job at Global Inheritance, a nonprofit group that uses arts and creativity to encourage environmental sustainability, she helped organize D.J. performances, powered entirely off the grid, at the Coachella music festival in April; last month, the group took energy-generating bicycles that charge cellphones and iPods to the Indy 500.
“The way that they approach sustainability and conservation issues is really fun and innovative,” she said about her employer. “We fit right in at Coachella, let’s put it that way.”
Gaining expertise and credentials in sustainability and clean energy is a smart move for any student or graduate who wants career security.
After all, anyone who follows resource depletion and climate science understands “In the future, the only jobs left will be green.” It’s great that the New York Times noticed. Next time, perhaps they will place their article somewhere everyone else will notice.
“WIRED asked LinkedIn to analyze the 7 million US members who have switched industries during the past five years.” The growth in “Renewables and The Environment” was 56.8% — almost off the chart [click to enlarge].