In brief

In brief

  • Our latest research reveals 77 percent of young people in Asia Pacific aspire to get a green job within the next 10 years.
  • While 32.6 million green jobs are expected to be created over the next 10 years, it won’t be enough to meet the demand coming from the region’s youth.
  • For companies operating in Asia Pacific, this presents a huge opportunity to move rapidly toward their environmentally sustainable business outcomes.
  • The challenge, however, is they need to start acting now to design the jobs that will attract motivated young people of a variety of skill levels.

Meet Gen Green

As companies accelerate their transition to the green economy, attracting young talent is a new imperative. While good pay, stability and opportunity continue to be motivators, young people are also looking for companies that offer attractive green jobs and demonstrate real commitment toward environment sustainability.

Over the next 7 years, new jobs needed to drive a green transition in Australia, China, India, Indonesia and Japan could jump by 62%.

The idea of creating a better future has mass appeal to young people across the globe, but young people in Asia Pacific (APAC) are particularly eager. Findings from our new research report show how young people in APAC have strikingly higher levels of aspiration to work in the green economy as compared to the US and Europe. The young in APAC are also confident of realizing their goal in 10 years—or even five.

Compared with Europe and the United States, a much higher percentage of young people in APAC aspire to work in the green economy.

Youth in APAC aspire to work in the green economy and solve some of the world’s biggest environmental challenges. Whether it’s helping economies transition to cleaner transportation or helping the region decarbonize, they’re in it for the long haul. There’s just one problem: Many of these green jobs don’t exist yet.

Turning the green vision into reality

Just how many green jobs will be available for APAC’s aspiring young people? Focusing on five countries in the region—Australia, China, India, Indonesia and Japan—we modeled the number of green jobs expected to be created by 2030. We found that 32.6 million green jobs could be created over the next seven years, in those five countries.

New green jobs will grow as part of a transition in four broad areas—decarbonizing the built environment, greening agriculture and land use, supplying low carbon electricity and transitioning transport.

According to our model, more than 12 million are expected in the area of transportation—for example, adding charging stations for electric cars or building out urban rail networks. Almost 10 million more will come from increasing the supply of low-carbon electricity, especially in the form of renewable energy.

Although 32.6 million green jobs in less than 10 years sounds impressive, this number still falls short of the high demand from the region’s 665 million young people (aged 15-39 years) active in the labor force in 2020.

Three imperatives for companies

As the demand for—and supply of—green jobs continues to grow, what do companies need to do? Many have started by making public commitments to sustainability. Now they have to execute, and that means they need talent, and often new forms of talent. A high degree of determination in this area will be critical to those that want to lead in the green economy.

We identified three imperatives for companies in APAC to attract young people.

Discerning and critical, young people are highly sensitive to superficial attempts at “greenwashing.” Conversely, companies that demonstrate a genuine commitment to a green-economy transition will have a strong appeal for young people. Here are two suggestions: First, create new green businesses that are decoupled from legacy businesses, and second, build internal capabilities for sustainability across all business divisions, which could include introducing and tracking new sustainability KPIs.

Today’s sustainability challenges demand fresh, hybrid solutions. Companies need to bring in a mosaic of talent profiles into new types of teams to build these solutions faster. Expertise will be required in unusual combinations such as chemical engineering-plus-innovation and climate science-plus-AI. Simply building this talent pool won’t suffice—the most innovative companies will go one step further by offering them the creative freedom to bring their ideas to life with the latest instruments such as advanced data platforms, analytical tools and new technologies.

Not all new green jobs will require advanced degrees.

Industries such as construction and manufacturing—where we estimate 76 percent of the new green jobs will be created—will have a large proportion of entry-level roles that require vocational qualifications. Our research also reveals that the young are eager to receive specialized training or build new and deeper skills. Companies should see this as an opportunity and take three actions.

First, invest in baseline training programs that certify incoming semi-skilled or unskilled workers, and establish on-the-job “upskilling” and specialization pathways for employees. Second, open entry-level employment paths through academic and vocational institution alliances. And third, create exchange and rotation programs between legacy and new business lines.

Putting green economy on the CXO agenda

To care about what young people want is to care about your company’s future. Business leaders need to ask themselves three key questions as they pursue a place in the green economy:

  • What are we doing to ensure our actions do not run the risk of “greenwashing?”
  • How will we tangibly measure our non-financial performance (i.e., environmental, social, governance and other dimensions)?
  • How will we create new “green collar” jobs needed to attract aspiring young people? And how will we ensure our existing talent can succeed in the green economy of the future?

Join the green generation

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About the Authors

Gianfranco Casati

CEO – Growth Markets

Dr. Vedrana Savic

Managing Director – Thought Leadership, Accenture Research

Valentin de Miguel

Senior Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting and Sustainability Services Lead, Growth Markets

Trevor Gruzin

Senior Managing Director – Growth & Strategy, Growth Markets

Yoshinori Tachibana

Senior Managing Director – Accenture Japan


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