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2016: It's a Great Time to be Green!

Solar panels facing the sun
It’s been almost 50 years since Kermit the Frog first sang about the challenges of being green. Who would have guessed that in 2016, businesses around the world would be competing to be just like him? Indeed, 2016 is a great time to be green, and these growing industries are providing more opportunities to job seekers every day. 

How can you take advantage of the growing green job sector? With help from IBISWorld, Aerotek has assembled some valuable information. We’ve decided to focus on three areas of the green revolution: solar power, sustainable building material manufacturing and eco and green product certification. Read on to find out more about pursuing a career in these industries.

Solar power

In the past 10 years, the solar energy sector has benefited from government financial incentives, tax credits, grants and the positive regard of the public. Declining prices of the materials used to build solar panels and increased manufacturing capacity have broadened profit margins for solar operators and persuaded new operators to enter the solar energy market. 

According to IBISWorld’s 2016 Solar Energy in the U.S. report, “industry revenue is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 75.9 percent to $3.2 billion over the five years [leading up] to 2016, including growth of 21.2 percent in 2016 alone.” By 2021, the industry’s revenue is expected to reach $4.4 billion, states the report.

First introduced in 2006 and extended this year, the renewable portfolio standard (RPS) “requires utility companies to generate a portion of their energy from renewable sources,” says the Solar Energy Industries Association. This regulation was a boon to employment numbers in the solar energy industry and is expected to increase jobs by 18.6 percent by 2016, reports IBISWorld.

Says the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “jobs are expected to grow in all the major sectors of the solar power industry: manufacturing, project development, construction, operation and maintenance and installation. As solar technology evolves and new uses for solar power are discovered, occupations in the industry will continue to grow and develop.”

This past week, Aerotek attended the 2016 Solar Power International conference in Las Vegas. Visit their website for additional information about careers in solar power.

Sustainable building materials manufacturing

Perhaps you’ve heard about LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings? Many buildings that boast this certification display a prominent plaque for all to see. As IBISWorld’s 2016 Sustainable Building Materials Manufacturing in the U.S. report explains, buildings in compliance with LEED standards “use sustainable materials that reduce building water, energy and other resource needs.” Sustainable materials are preferable to most of us since they create less waste, fewer pollutants and are kinder to the environment. 

Tax credits and incentives offered by federal, state and local governments encourage builders and homeowners to use sustainable and locally sourced building materials and energy-efficient appliances, says IBISWorld. This translates into more job opportunities in the sustainable building materials manufacturing field.

“Over the five years [leading up] to 2016, employment is expected to rise at an average annual rate of 18.9 percent to 945,000 workers,” says IBISWorld’s report. By 2021, the report continues, the number of sustainable builders is expected to increase to 69,560 and employment in the industry is expected to grow by 8 percent annually to 1.4 million workers. 

According to BLS, the sustainable building materials manufacturing industry will offer employment opportunities to architects, civil, electrical and mechanical engineers, construction managers and laborers, tradesmen such as carpenters, plumbers, pipe and steamfitters, HVAC and insulation installers, roofers and glaziers. 

Eco and green product certification operators

How do you know if the home you’re buying is LEED certified, the apples in your shopping cart are really organic and your shampoo hasn’t been tested on animals? Eco and green product certification operators are responsible for making sure that products like these meet particular standards. Nowadays, consumers are willing to pay more to ensure that their goods, buildings and food are produced in environmentally friendly ways. Government regulations, particularly those enacted by the Obama administration, have encouraged environmentally responsible practices, while government assistance and tax credits have allowed the industry to thrive. 

According to IBISWorld’s 2016 Eco Green Product Certification Providers in the U.S. report, “Over the five years [leading up] to 2016, industry revenue will grow at an annualized rate of 4.1 percent to 430 million.” In 2016 the report predicts it will grow by 5 percent and by 2021, revenue is expected to increase at an annualized rate of 3.6 percent to 513 million. The number of eco-label providers will also increase substantially from 203 providers by 2016 to 233 by 2021, the report says.

Industry employment is projected to rise at an annualized rate of 3.8 percent to 2,090 people over the five years [leading up] to 2016 and by 3.2 percent to 2,444 people by 2021. Profit margins will continue to widen, as more corporations recognize the financial and public relations benefits of becoming sustainable.

Professionals employed by eco green product certification organizations include environmental and mechanical engineers, environmental scientists, and accredited certifying agents. Because of the high levels of training and education necessary to qualify for jobs in this industry, product certification operators typically command high salaries. In fact, wage costs make up approximately 36.9 percent of the industry’s revenue. On average, current salaries for this highly trained workforce are $75,933. Salaries for eco and green certification providers are expected to increase to $77,577 by 2021. 

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