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Lucubrate Magazine, February 15th, 2023

Young people will be disproportionately affected by climate-driven erosion of their ecosystems and traditional work sources such as fishing, farming, and manufacturing. At the same time, we can see the creation of new green and blue jobs across almost every sector – in smart agriculture, renewable energy, electric vehicles, and more. 

De-carbonising the economy means, more than anything else, reducing the carbon footprint associated with industrial and service activities. Changing the energy mix from brown to renewable and sustainable energy is the strategy to accomplish that. One of the sectors that are very likely to require such careful accompanying measures is the energy (electricity and gas) sector, where we expect many changes to occur over the next few years and decades. As a result, the skill mix and associated work characteristics will change dramatically in that sector. [1]

Green and Brown Jobs

Green and brown jobs are complementary to one another because both work toward preserving the environment and creating sustainable resources for use in manufacturing.

On a global scale, the environment is being cared for all the time, thanks to green and brown jobs. Green jobs are focused on natural resources, while brown jobs involve manufactured resources. For example, green jobs protect rainforests, while brown jobs include mining iron, gold and copper from the earth. Green jobs also include protecting wildlife and maintaining natural ecosystems such as coral reefs and oceans. In contrast, brown jobs involve extracting natural resources such as coal, oil, iron ore and ores. For example, coal mines create a wide variety of green-collar jobs, while extracting iron creates many brown-collar jobs.

Both Green and Brown Jobs are Necessary

Both green and brown jobs are necessary to preserve the environment. Green jobs focus on caring for natural resources such as land, water, air and biodiversity. In contrast, brown jobs focus on exploiting natural resources such as coal, oil, iron ore and ores. Exploitation is necessary because it allows manufacturers access to raw materials needed for their products. It also creates employment opportunities for people with low socio-economic standards who live in rural areas. Essentially, green and brown jobs complement one another by helping preserve the environment and creating sustainable resources for use in manufacturing.

Many work within these sectors to care for natural resources such as land or wildlife habitats. Furthermore, exploiting natural resources creates many employment opportunities for people living in rural areas with low socio-economic standards. Consequently, both types of jobs are increasing due to increased industrial production; this makes them desirable worldwide.

What are the Skills Required for a Green or Brown Job?

When most people hear the words green or brown job, they think of a career in the environmental or conservation fields. However, all types of jobs require green or brown skills. Some green jobs that fall under these categories are very specialised. Employers in these fields must hire experts in their particular field. Employers need to understand what skills they should look for in job candidates when looking for talent.

A research note suggests that the quality of green jobs does not differ systematically from brown jobs and that the same is true for green jobs. Moreover, an analysis between 2005 and 2015 suggests that for most countries and sectors, green and brown jobs evolved along similar lines. [1]

Similar Skills Required for a Green or Brown Job

People in green and brown jobs typically work with and contact the natural environment directly. They must also show respect for nature and care for it while working. This respect includes not harming it, controlling how they use it, and not wasting any resources. Furthermore, all green and brown employees must be punctual, organised and detail-oriented. They should also have good communication and customer service skills. 

First, brown jobs in established sectors, which can often be assumed to be more institutionalised, regularly score higher, sometimes significantly, than green jobs. In addition, the quality of work is higher in areas with more institutionalised protection and enforcement, particularly wages and health & safety. Finally, the highly politicised but far from a fully standardised place of work-life and gender balance shows the most significant variation of any set of indicators. [1]

Employers must find employees who can fit into their company’s culture by emphasising competitive advantage over sustainability. Typically, green and brown companies hire people passionate about the environment and driven to succeed economically. These workers understand how to protect the natural world without destroying their employers’ profits. Plus, they know that customers value low prices more than watching nature any day of the week. Therefore, it’s up to them to find ways to lower costs while still keeping companies competitive through resource conservation measures like reducing waste and using eco-friendly materials whenever possible.

Both green and brown jobs require workers to that are dedicated to their employers’ success. Typically, these organisations have high standards for their employees’ attitudes towards the environment and customers. Employees who demonstrate respect for both will impress employers and have a better chance of succeeding with their company. Additionally, green or brown employees should know when to ask questions – even if it delays the completion of their task – as they learn new things about their field. Employers appreciate when employees are willing to learn and grow with them; this way, their company can succeed in an ever-changing world.

The green transition and green skills

The green transition, coming as it does on the tails of two massive economic crises – the financial shock of 2008 and the Covid-19 crisis of 2020 – heralds an era of deep economic insecurity. Many workers will understandably worry about their jobs, their survival and existence, and their work type. Even if green and brown jobs do not differ much, any downward shift will produce uncomfortable outcomes regarding equality and life chances, which will endanger the success of the necessary greening of the economy. Policies geared toward greening could, therefore, meaningfully take into account a process of ‘social assessment’ in the same way that we have introduced technology assessment to evaluate the effects of new technologies on society in general and employment in particular. [1]


Bob Hancke, Toon Van Overbeke, and Nikolas Neos, Social Situation Monitor Quality of Green Jobs, European Union, July 2020

Lucubrate Magazine February 2023

The photo on the top of the article: Adobe Stock

A young woman student works on an automatic lathe CNC industrial workshop. Concept vocational education turner. (Photo: Adobe Stock)

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Karl Skaar
Mr. Karl Skaar

He is a highly successful professional with a high degree of entrepreneurial flair.

- Responsible editor and publisher of the Lucubrate Magazine, Global
- Project Manager of the Lucubrate Project, Global
- Chairman of the Board of Directors of Norsk Kompetansebygging AS, Norway
- Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nobel Knowledge Building, Uganda

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