In recent years, the concept of green jobs has been the focus of increasing attention from both policy and research circles. At the EU policy level, the green transition is seen as an opportunity to create jobs in existing and emerging economic sectors. The need for re- and upskilling workers to ensure a socially just green and digital transition is also increasingly being highlighted in the policy debate.
Despite this renewed surge in interest, partly propelled by the necessity to mitigate the impacts of the climate crisis as well as external shocks such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the notion of green jobs is not a recent one. A large number of different approaches to how green jobs can be defined and classified have been put forward in the past few decades. While these definitions and taxonomies display certain overlaps, often in terms of a focus on jobs in the Environmental Goods and Services Sector, key analytical differences compromise the comparability of assessments.
These differences along with gaps identified in existing definitions and frameworks have exposed the need to create a novel taxonomy for green jobs. Combining various elements of these approaches in a quantifiable, and thus practically applicable, manner, this report develops an integrated taxonomy based on four pillars: inputs, outputs, processes, and job quality. The use of different indicators to operationalise these pillars aims to enable more accurate assessments and comparison of case studies, to support policymaking in this area.
A number of different strategies and policies that incorporate green jobs elements have been launched, at the EU level as well as by Member States and internationally, in the past couple of years. In line with other recent policy developments, most of these initiatives focus on developing skills for the green transition. In addition, many strategies incorporate a social dimension to green jobs, aiming to ensure that vulnerable groups are protected in the green transition. Tackling the creation and retention of green jobs while phasing out brown jobs may profit from a more integrated approach that goes beyond skills, while also taking into account the greenness of work processes, outputs and supply chain inputs, as put forward in the report prepared by CEPS.