In the beginning there were eco-jobs, then jobs with a low carbon dioxide content, and finally green jobs. Now circular jobs have also appeared, explicitly referencing the circular economy dynamics. The world of employment has in fact suffered – and has continued to do so over the last two decades – a radical transformation connected to technological and digital innovation on the one side and a heightened environmental sensitivity on the other. 

Green jobs must also be decent, adequately paid, inclusive and free from gender disparities, in accordance with the premise of the Brundtland Report, which states that there can be no environmental justice without social justice. It is not enough to be a solar panel manufacturer, an expert in the reuse of materials or a good gardener-landscaper; if that same industry exploits workers or doesn’t offer equal career opportunities for both sexes.

This is why Unioncamere and the Agency for Active Job Policies (ANPAL) have set up parameters (using the Excelsior I.T. system) for the collection of data regarding green economy and the need for green jobs in Italy, detecting the degree of sustainability of products or final services, as well as the actual transformation of processes, including the recyclability and reusability of materials, energy efficiency and so on.

Furthermore, Excelsior has shown that the job market is ever more oriented towards green jobs and that the professional categories that offer the greatest economic-contractual stability are found within green and circular economies.

According to what was shown by the 2017 “Green Competences” publication, the attitude towards saving energy and environmental sustainability was the primary competence requested by companies after so-called soft skills. In other words, Italian companies give more importance to sustainable and environmental aptitude rather than written and oral communication skills in Italian or other languages. For 76.8%, 3,143,190 out of the 4,092,500 entries forecast in the employment market, green competences are considered necessary in order to carry out one’s profession, and for 36.8%, the equivalent of 1,506,690 units, the degree of importance of this skill is considered in the medium-high range. 

The element that clearly justifies this positioning is the great success of financial instruments for energy efficiency and more generally building renovations, which is the industry that received the greatest benefits. According to the Symbola-Cresme data, the volume of investments in renovations activated by incentives in 2016 was equal to 28 billion, i.e. 16% of the whole construction output and 56.9% of all the residential construction operations. 

The 2017 IPSOS investigation on employment, shows that 84% of Italians give great importance to energy efficiency in buildings (it is “very important” for 43% and “important” for 41%); this research highlights that 76% of Italians are aware of the eco-bonus, and 15% state they have used it. 

This shows us that the market is particularly active, and is significant due to the clear advantages provided by energy efficiency, and, more generally, the focus on sustainability it brings for individuals, companies and public administrations.

These scenarios show us why green competences are so prevalent among the skills of future employees. And if we observe the data on entries in the job market that require “aptitude towards energy saving and sustainability” for professional groups, the ones with the strongest environmental vocation express – percentage wise – greater demands: 82.5% for technical professions and 79.9%, for specialised operators. 

The data from the Greenitaly Report shows that the propensity of companies to invest on the environment increased rapidly in 2017: in fact, 209,000 companies focused, or will focus, on sustainability and efficiency, with a quota on the total (15,9%) that has overtaken the levels registered in 2011 (14.3%) by 1.6 percentage points. 

Education towards sustainability and circular economy principles are required by unexpected sectors now more than ever. For example, the medium-high interest from the category that includes pre-primary school teachers (45.6%), primary school teachers (54.5%), entertainment officers and assimilated professions (56%) as well as child surveillance officers (61.2%) is going in this direction.

Why are teachers required to have an aptitude for sustainability? The immediate answer given by the data is that a – general and transversal – cultural shift in the perception of these skills has taken place.

If the search for workers who possess skills that are specifically pertinent to this field appears to be a logical and inevitable consequence of the activation of a market for energy efficiency or the circularity of material flows, the percentages regarding the search for green professionals in all areas is what has truly changed: 78.1% for commercial professions and services, 78% for intellectual and scientific professions, 78% for clerks, 76.8% for managers and 75.8% for plant and machinery operators. 

Green competences have practically become a personal orientation and a cultural inclination, rather than than being a specific skill.

A sort of link between “soft” and “hard” skills: between what is transversal, and therefore appropriate for all professions, and what pertains to more specific occupations.  



Unioncamere, Anpal, Le competenze