- Australia has a sizable green sector with a relatively high share of job postings compared with countries such as the United States and United Kingdom.
- Environmental health officer is by far the largest occupation in the green sector, accounting for almost one-third of job postings.
- The fastest-growing green occupations are environmental scientist of both the senior and junior variety, followed by director of environmental services.
The world comes together to celebrate Earth Day on April 22. This annual event promoting environmental protection began in 1970 and today includes events across more than 193 countries. As Earth Day approaches, Indeed has identified the top green jobs in Australia, where these jobs are and how our green jobs share compares with those in other countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom.
In Australia, employer demand for green jobs was almost 50% higher in 2017 than in 2015, with much of the increase occurring since late 2016. Growth during that period has been strongest in Victoria and South Australia, while states such as Western Australia and Tasmania have seen green opportunities decline.
Green job opportunities in Australia compare favourably against a range of similar countries. The green jobs share of overall postings tracks 30% higher than in the United Kingdom and 60% higher than in the United States. Even Canada, whose resource-rich economy is most similar to Australia’s, has relatively fewer green jobs.
Environmental health officer is the biggest green occupation
Environmental health officer ranks as Australia’s top green job, accounting for almost one-third of total green jobs. It ranks ahead of environmental manager at 18% and environmental consultant at 10%. There are also opportunities for workers with varying levels of education and experience–officers and assistants at the junior end, and managers and specialists for those with greater experience.
The green sector is growing rapidly. Demand for senior environmental scientists rose 264% over the past three years, while the share of job postings for less experienced environmental scientists rose 131%. For directors of environmental services and water resource engineers, the number of job postings per million total postings more than doubled.
However, some green jobs have seen better days. Over the past three years, job postings in two of Australia’s top 10 green jobs–water treatment specialist and safety, health and environmental assistant–fell one-quarter and one-third respectively. Meanwhile, year round sunshine wasn’t enough to keep opportunities for solar installers from falling 4.6%.
Victoria is the top ranked state for green jobs
It wasn’t always the case, but Victoria has emerged as the top state for green jobs. In fact, it was the only state with a concentration of green jobs higher than the national average. This is quite a leap. Three years ago, Victoria ranked fifth for green job opportunities, well behind front runners Tasmania and Western Australia. Although no single factor has driven Victoria’s surge up the rankings, Melbourne’s status as the world’s most liveable city may depend on it continuing.
Western Australia’s green jobs decline comes as a surprise given the ramp-up in iron ore and coal production over the past three years. An Indeed analysis of the United States found a greater concentration of green jobs in areas with high concentrations of ‘dirty’ jobs. This doesn’t appear to be the case in Australia. Western Australia and Queensland, the two states with a high concentration of mining jobs, rank slightly below the national average for green opportunities.
Australia’s green sector is large by international standards
Despite the political uncertainty surrounding Australia’s climate change policy, with the major parties promoting very different approaches, Australia has developed a sizable green sector. In the first quarter of 2018, Australia’s green jobs as a share of overall postings was 30% higher than the United Kingdom’s, 60% greater than that in the United States and 85% higher than Canada’s. And Australia appears to be pulling away from the pack. Much of the green gap has emerged over the past 18 months.
Green jobs are expected to continue growing over the next few years. Pinsent Masons, a global law firm, surveyed 250 senior-level executives from 200 energy generation and distribution companies. It found Australia ranked 4th, behind Germany, China and the United Kingdom, as a target for global energy investment. The main impediment to further investment appears to be Australia’s lack of a clear energy policy. On this score, Australia ranks poorly against other countries surveyed.
For this blog post, we identified job titles containing one or more of the following terms: biofuel, sustainability, sustainable, biomass, brownfield, climate, energy, environment, environmental, geothermal, green, hydroelectric, ecologist, methane, recycle, recycling, solar, photovoltaic, PV, thermal, wind, water, hydrology, hydrologist, geoscientist, geoscience, conservationist, climatology, climatologist, conservation, ecology, ecologist, ecological, ecosystem, biodiversity and biodynamic. We then filtered this list to identify jobs that were clearly dedicated to environmental protection.