Green skills for 3.5 million hires

Sustainable investments by companies to grow again in 2021

Economy - published on 22 April 2022
Source: Unioncamere press office
Rome, 22 April 2022 – An aptitude for energy saving and environmental sustainability is confirmed as a basic requirement for entering the labour market: in 2021, companies requested green
skills for 76.3% of planned hirings – equal to over 3.5 million positions – and in 37.9% of cases with a high degree of importance for the profession.
In fact, 2021 saw a recovery in business investment in the Green Economy: 24.3% of companies in industry and services invested in green technologies and products (+3 percentage points compared to
2019) and 52.5% invested in green skills, restoring the positive dynamic observed before the pandemic. These results underline the commitment of companies to the green transition, an even more
strategic factor today in order to overcome the very high tensions in the energy field of raw material supply due to the war in Ukraine.
This is the picture shown by the latest edition of the volume ‘Green skills‘ of the Unioncamere and ANPAL
Information System, produced in collaboration with the G. Tagliacarne Study Centre of the Chambers of Commerce.
Green skills are increasingly transversal
The demand for green transition skills pervades the entire economy, albeit with varying degrees of intensity. In industry, there is a high demand for green skills in the mineral extraction sector
(79.7% of planned entries require them), in the wood and furniture sector (78.8%), in construction (78.6%), in the chemical, pharmaceutical and oil industries (78.5%), for public utilities (77.8%)
and for mechanics (76.8%). In the services sector, green skills are equally strategic for training (84.6% of entries require them), trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorbikes (84.4%),
advanced and business support services (81.1%) and accommodation, catering and tourism (80.9%).
Green skills are crucial for most of the professions related to the construction sector, such as civil construction technicians and engineers (78.6% and 71.2% of entries, respectively) and building
site management technicians (55%), who are called upon to work both in the energy requalification of existing buildings and in the design and construction of new eco-sustainable buildings. But
that’s not all, green skills are decisive for the recruitment of electronic and telecommunications engineers (64.5%), network and telematics systems managers (57.8%), freight forwarders and
distribution technicians (56.4%), chemical technicians (52.6%), and teachers in vocational training (52.3%).
Moreover, the possession of green skills is strategic for all levels of education: the highest demands are observed for higher technical education (green skills are required for 88.2% of ITS
entrants) and graduates (82.7%), but also for those who obtain a professional qualification and/or diploma or a secondary level qualification, the attitude to energy saving and environmental
awareness is an important requirement to enter the labour market (demanded respectively to 79.3% and 76.6% of entrants of the educational level).
The degree courses with a higher than average demand for green skills – 45.5% – are agriculture, food and animal husbandry (high green skills required by 74.7% of graduates), civil engineering and
architecture (61.5%), industrial engineering (55.9%) and statistics (54%).
Among upper secondary school graduates, companies consider the possession of green skills to be absolutely necessary for graduates in tourism, food and wine and hospitality (51.4% of the profiles
sought are in high demand) and in agriculture, food processing and agro-industry (48.1%).
The results of the Excelsior Information System also show that the mismatch grows as the intensity of the importance with which green skills are sought increases. Specifically, 33.8% of
entrants found it difficult to find green skills, a proportion that rises to 36.9% when they are required with a high degree of importance.
The characteristics of Green Jobs

In addition to the widespread green skills, the Excelsior System highlights the recruitment planned by businesses for jobs characteristic of the Green Economy. In 2021, 1.6 million
contracts have been planned by companies for genuine Green Jobs, equivalent to 34.5% of total entries, returning to the pre-pandemic levels recorded in 2019. Green Jobs include energy saving and
renewable energy technicians, green product sales manager, green software analyst and designer, and environmental legal expert.
The industrial sectors – which absorb to a greater extent the profiles actively involved in the production and development of Green Economy technologies and processes – show a higher incidence of
Green Jobs (68.6%) than services (20.9%).
Construction continues to be in first place in terms of the share of Green Jobs (86.7% of the sector’s total entries), followed by mechanics (84%) and the rubber and plastics industries (82.8%).
As far as services are concerned, the incidence of Green Jobs is higher than average in logistics (72.4%), advanced business support services (52.5%), financial and insurance services (40.6%) and
ICT (40.2%).
Green jobs are also characterised – compared to other professions – by a higher demand for problem solving, the ability to manage innovative solutions and mathematical and computer skills.
Moreover, the difficulty of finding a job is accentuated in 40.6% of cases.
In continuity with previous editions, the Green Jobs are identified starting from the O*NET classification, which includes both specific professions – in some cases emerging – that are required
to meet the new needs of the Green Economy, and professions that, in order to meet the changing needs of the market, must face the challenge of a green reskilling, and jobs that are not strictly
green but are involved in the change that is being generated thanks to the transversal diffusion of the macro-trends of environmental sustainability.

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