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The emergence of green talent

Several factors are driving an increase in the supply of and demand for "green talent", employees with the mindsets and skills to drive ...

By John Glen Eric Lowitt and Chris Hilson . 01 December 2009

Several factors are driving an increase in the supply of and demand for "green talent", employees with the mindsets and skills to drive sustainability.


The emergence of green talentBut many business leaders do not fully understand the implications of this change in the workforce. John Glen, Chris Hilson and Eric Lowitt believe corporate chiefs need to learn – quickly.


Four factors – new regulations, new investments, new technologies and new values – are increasing both the supply and the demand for green talent, the kind of workers who boost the sustainability of companies. The problem is, many business leaders are not fully prepared to take advantage of this new talent pool. They typically associate it in a limited way with what are commonly referred to as “green jobs”. They envision green talent being employed in “dark green” industries only, those in which the challenges and opportunities associated with sustainability are obvious, such as the energy sector. But green talent will also be needed in “light green” industries, where the implications are less immediately clear, such as banking.

Fortunately, the way companies adapted their talent practices to the Internet revolution can shed light on this issue. Just a decade ago, companies across all industries learned to locate, acquire and develop new talent pools amidst a similar context of change. Those businesses that acted ahead of their competitors by altering their talent management strategies read the signs of the times: that the Internet was here to reshape business permanently. A similar degree of change in talent management strategies is required today as businesses realize that a focus on sustainability is a strategic and operational priority.

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