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Green workforce transformation

As well as ensuring that we bring new talent into the workforce, it’s important to remember that the majority of the future workforce are already in employment.

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Sustainability is here to stay

There’s no doubt about it, organisations have an essential role to play to ensure we meet the targets to protect and support our planet for generations to come. According to research by Hays, nearly a third (32%) of professionals said an organisation’s commitment to sustainability was very important to them when considering a new role.

In another report, Hays state that 23% of employers said the number of sustainability specialists has increased in their organisation over the last 12 months. For large employers, this jumps to a third (33%).

Read more thoughts from our strategic partner, Hays.

A report by IEMA and Deloitte, A Blueprint for Green Workforce Transformation, highlights the need for organisations to take action, now. The research showed:

Sustainability professionals increasingly influence business model decisions

Over the next decade, we predict an emerging green workforce in which every employee understands how sustainability can create economic value

A one-size-fits-all approach to workforce transformation will not be enough

Realigned incentives will be needed to persuade many current workers to develop green skills

The shift to a green economy will create jobs within new and emerging sectors

How to support your current and future talent

Support individuals starting out on their journey

Bringing talent into green jobs is vital for our future and there are several ways that organisations can support this, such as:

  • Apprenticeships
  • Offering work experience
  • Engaging with schools, colleges and universities
  • Attending jobs fairs.
Help upskill those already in the workforce

As well as bringing in the right skills when hiring individuals into an organisation, the future workforce also includes those that are already working, therefore it’s important to ensure that they also have the green skills needed for our future economy.

  • Encourage your employees to learn more about the environment and sustainability.
  • Provide training to upskill individuals in green skills. You can read about how IEMA can help below.
  • Consider introducing a Green Champions Network.
  • Consider the roles and responsibilities for sustainability within your organisation – is there enough focus in this area?
  • Do you have a sustainability policy in place?
Be flexible and adaptable

It is important for employers to listen to their employees and adapt their ways of working to retain the best talent within the workforce.

Offering flexible working is crucial for companies that want to attract and retain a diverse workforce. Many people face barriers in traditional 9-5 work, including those with disabilities or caring responsibilities. Providing flexible working options, such as job sharing or remote working, can help to remove these barriers and create a more inclusive workplace.

In addition, implementing the Disability Confident scheme is a great way to encourage disabled participants. This government initiative is designed to encourage employers to recruit and retain disabled people and those with health conditions. It provides training for employers on how to create an accessible and supportive workplace for people with disabilities. By prioritising flexible working and implementing the disability confidence scheme, companies can not only create a more diverse workforce but also foster a more inclusive and supportive workplace culture for all employees.

Support our drive for a more diverse workforce

Currently, the profession is lacking in diversity, particularly racial diversity (see report ‘Racial diversity in environment professions’). However, there are many organisations that are encouraging inclusive and diverse workplaces and have signed up for relevant initiatives.

IEMA’s Diverse Sustainability Initiative works with partners, educating and connecting them with one another to encourage diversity within the profession. Take a look at the website for more information and resources. If you’re a person of colour or identify as LGBTQIA+ then you can join networks that offer a safe space and an opportunity to drive change.

Sign up to the Diverse Sustainability Initiative

IEMA can help your organisation

IEMA Corporate Partnership

IEMA Partnership Programmes are designed to provide the support, skills and resources individual organisations need to create measurable sustainability impact in the workplace. Our Corporate Partnership programmes are designed with flexibility in mind, bespoke for every organisation regardless of size, sector, or where they are on their sustainability journey.

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The programme is based around three key areas:

IEMA Training

IEMA courses set the standard for professional development in sustainability and the environment. From Environmental Management to Net Zero and Sustainable Procurement, our huge range of learning and development options – both formal and informal – are tailor-made for you. You can be sure that IEMA certified courses will meet the needs of industry and further your organisation’s ambitions. With many learning styles, from e-learning, public courses, virtual classroom, applied learning and in-company training, you will be able to skill colleagues wherever they are based in the world in a style that suits their needs, ensuring that you can consistently embed skills across your workforce with an equitable approach.

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Take a look at what others are doing

Our Green Careers Hub video partners talk about green skills and careers within their workplace. Learning from others through best practice is a great way to make positive change.

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IEMA is the membership body for environment and sustainability professionals