New Survey Finds 80% of Employers Believe Increased Access to Funding and Information Are Needed to Create More Green Jobs

Career Climbers / 5th March 2024

While nearly 90 percent of small and medium-sized employers say that businesses have a role to play in protecting the environment, more than 40 percent of employers in a new surveycommissioned by national workforce nonprofit Jobs for the Future (JFF) say they are unsure how the creation of more green jobs and skills will impact their business. Over 80 percent of all employers agree that more resources like access to funding and information would help their businesses create more green jobs, while nearly 90 percent say regional efforts are somewhat important.

“The demand for green jobs and skills is quickly exceeding the pool of workers ready to step into these positions,” said Taj Eldridge, managing director, Climate Innovation at JFFLabs. “Small and medium-sized employers are a major driver of job creation, employing nearly half of all workers in the U.S. As we look at the growth in the green economy, we know these businesses, and their regional education and workforce partners, have an important role to play. We’re committed to helping them and their partners navigate this new landscape.”

The green economy is projected to create an estimated 9 million new U.S. jobs over the next decade. A 2023 JFF and Burning Glass Institute report estimates that more than 17.6 million jobs already require some “green skills”—meaning, the knowledge, competencies, and abilities necessary to engage in job tasks focused on climate mitigation and adaptation efforts—today. The fact that many of these jobs do not require a college degree, or traditional education options, presents an opportunity to establish a more balanced and fair workforce.

To better understand the awareness and perceptions of employers and regions on climate change and green workforce development, JFF surveyed more than 800 director-level or higher individuals working at small- and medium-sized businesses. Conducted by Morning Consult, this survey defines small-sized employers as companies with less than 100 employees and medium-sized employers as companies with 100 to 500 employees. 

Among the key findings:

  • Businesses want more resources to invest in green job creation and skills development. They expect governments and regions to step up. Over 80 percent of employers agree that more resources like access to funding and information on helping employees transition to green jobs would help amplify awareness of their businesses and create more green jobs. At the same time, more than half of employers say they would be more willing to create green jobs if “additional government funding” were made available to them (61%).

  • There is an information gap for employers on funding and resources for green jobs creation. Just over 1 in 3 employers say they are “very” or “somewhat aware” of funding opportunities (36%), and less than a third have used any government resources or funding to create green jobs at all (30%). Employers in the Northeast region show more awareness of resources and funding opportunities for green job creation (42% very + somewhat aware) compared to those in the South (35%), West (34%), and Midwest (31%).

  • Regions play a critical role in leading on-the-ground efforts to tackle climate-related workforce challenges. Over 80 percent say regional-level efforts are at least ‘somewhat important’ to promoting green job growth (86%). And nearly 9 in 10 employers say that collaboration with other businesses in their region will be helpful to create more green jobs.

To help regions better understand how to partner with businesses and encourage development of quality green jobs, JFF is releasing a new interactive, data-driven guide for regional leaders to understand their potential to create quality green jobs. The guide, Regional Solutions for Growing Quality Green Jobs, assesses county-by-county risk and readiness for the green economy and offers specific recommendations to advance green workforce development. Recommendations in the new guide include strengthening partnerships that advance green job opportunities, expanding talent pipelines to increase access to jobs with transferable green skills, and mapping available funding streams and additional support for green jobs creation.

JFF works with employers, colleges, and community partners to develop quality green jobs strategies in 10 states across the U.S., and has recently published insights on the unique barriers they face. This work is part of Climate-Resilient Employees for a Sustainable Tomorrow, an initiative of the Ares Charitable Foundation that aims to close the gap between the demand for a skilled workforce for green jobs and the number of people prepared for these opportunities.

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