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Get paid more for protecting the planet (than destroying it)

The climate and nature crisis can be overwhelming. Many people are responding by landing well-paid climate jobs. Learn how to join them - and get paid more for doing so.

Written by:
Clare Saxon Ghauri

“What do you do?” It’s the age-old, cringe question we all hate to ask new people. But over the last few years, it has become even more cringe. Because the more we learn about the climate and nature emergency, the more likely we are to feel ashamed about being associated with industries causing it.‍

While once it was just a bit boring to say you worked in finance or for an oil company, it’s now something you may want to avoid mentioning at all. Why would you want to shout about working for an organisation that directly contributes to something that over two-thirds of the world’s citizens — and three-quarters of UK adults — are terrified about?‍

If you’re lucky enough to choose, that is. Privilege has a big part to play in making employment decisions based on climate ethics. While it does present an opportunity to advance inclusion, currently, the clean energy sector is lacking in women workers and racial diversity — and we have all read about rich tech workers quitting Silicon Valley to save the planet.‍

But more and more people are seeking work with greater meaning. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, more than half of American employees have said they want to do more purposeful jobs. Meanwhile, climate jobs website Climatebase, launched in 2020, has attracted nearly 1 million people who have logged on to apply for over 45k jobs at over 2,500 environmentally-friendly organisations.‍

At a time when quiet quitting has become normalised post-pandemic — with the so-called “Great Resignation” in which 1 in 5 workers are planning to leave their jobs — this increase is saying something. If people are going to spend their precious time working, they want to spend it in roles that are protecting the living planet we all share.

These shifting attitudes may help to explain why the number of green jobs advertised in the UK has almost trebled in the last year. Socially and economically, the transition to clean energy is underway. Fossil fuel sectors are set to lose up to 5 million jobs by 2030. But most importantly — especially in a cost of living crisis — growth of and demand for climate-related jobs are going hand in hand with surging salaries. As organisations adapt to shifting realities, by pivoting their business plans to profit from the green economy before everyone else, they are scrambling to attract the best people with high-paying climate roles.‍

The average salary for climate jobs in the UK is £37,500, which is £10k higher than the country’s average full-time salary.

Industry Average Salary
Climate £37,500
Marketing £34,900
Media £32,500
Sport £32,500
Fashion £29,000
Food £27,000


‍In the US, workers in clean energy roles earn more and benefit from a smaller pay gap compared to all workers in the country. With more than one-quarter of global venture capital funding going to climate tech, those paychecks are getting even bigger. Some top jobs are paying up to around $100,000.‍

Sonam Velani, the co-founder of NY Climate Tech, the largest place-based climate community in the US, believes the “Age of Climate Industrialism is in full swing”:‍

“We have about 3,000 rockstars as a part of our group, most of whom are transitioning into climate writ large. We couldn't be more excited to see the energy of all these climate 'newbies' who want to build solutions to the climate crisis.”

And it’s easy to see why, as Sonam adds, “there are better paid, more fulfilling jobs across the board.”‍

These well-paid jobs range from engineers, developers and scientists to analysts, designers and educators, across environmental protection, regenerative agriculture, clean energy, research, nature-friendly products, and climate technology. But it’s not just climate specialists that are in demand. From sales and finance to project management and marketing, freshly-funded climate organisations around the world are looking for your transferable and much-needed skills. If you’re looking to change jobs, now is the time to do it. But climate jobs don’t end in the climate sector.‍

Every industry on the planet is impacted by the climate and nature emergency, so every role needs to be part of the solution. That doesn’t always mean totally transforming the business. All work processes can be adapted in some way to cut emissions, use fewer resources, or raise awareness. Shop and salon owners can replace stock with sustainable alternatives — and proudly explain why. Teachers can weave climate and nature into every lesson. Insurers can divest from fossil fuels. ICT managers can switch to energy-efficient systems. Even social media influencers can end partnerships with fast-fashion brands. Together, we can make a difference to the many systems and industries we are already part of.‍

Even if your job is one of those that is too cringe to mention, quitting isn’t your only option if you want to make a difference. Whatever your role, you have a massive opportunity to make change happen on a much bigger scale than you can on your own. It doesn’t have to be complicated, either. And because so many people have already started doing it, guidance exists. An employee guide by Project Drawdown covers everything from reducing emissions in supply chains and engaging employees to converting business models. Whether you’re looking to move on or to stay and improve the positive climate impact of your employer, a good place to start is the Slack community, Work on Climate, which boasts over 10,000 members, all networking and sharing resources, expert advice and events on how to do both.‍

If everyone started working for climate and nature in this way, imagine the possibilities. Together, we would create a world where nobody is ashamed to say where they work because every job is a climate and nature job. A world where every sector, department, team and person is contributing to creating a future that is safer, healthier, fairer and more prosperous for everyone.‍

To make this world a reality, every organisation and employee needs to be empowered to start shifting their work towards equitable and just solutions to the climate and nature crisis, today.‍

So, maybe a better question to ask someone new is: what do you want to do?‍

At AimHi Earth, we provide the knowledge, skills and activation for you and your organisation to play a part in responding to the climate and nature crisis. Whether you are looking to upskill for a shiny new climate job or to bring the rest of your current organisation with you, take a look at our holistic, energising training courses and get in touch with us.‍

Next time someone asks, you can say you’re officially a climate leader. No cringe necessary.

Conversation Starters

Want to talk about what’s in this blog, but don’t know where to start? Try these conversation starters.

For more conservatively-minded folks:

We all want to provide for our families and futures with secure, well-paid jobs. But we also want to help build a safer future for children. We are also proud of our country and want to preserve its beautiful nature. Would you consider doing something else with your skills that could help achieve that? Imagine the positive impact you could make if you applied those skills to the climate sector. And with huge growth potential and investment globally, you will get paid more than you do now, for protecting our living planet. The old fossil fuelled industries are dying out, and if we do not take advantage, other countries will. Would you consider moving sectors? What would stop you? What do you need to know?

For more liberally-minded folks:

Are you happy where you work? Do you wish you could work somewhere that was doing good? There is no point wasting time in jobs that are directly contributing to the climate and nature crisis. It is unethical and these jobs will soon be in the past. Your skills and purpose will be better appreciated in the climate sector. And if you can’t move jobs yet, would you consider helping to change your organisation from the inside? There are so many ways we can be climate activists and leaders and still earn more than a decent living wage. And when we have learned how, we can share this vital information with others. We can be part of the tipping point towards a just new system that is equitable for all life on Earth.

For a climate denier or sceptic:

Fossil fuelled industries built the prosperous society we benefit from today. But we also need to follow the money. These sectors are dying out and green jobs pay better. Why waste time investing into a company that won’t be able to legally or physically exist in a few years. And why not get paid more, to create a cleaner planet that we all benefit from? If we don’t, it just means other countries will get there sooner. What do you care about? What or who do you want to protect? A climate job will help you make that happen, and get paid better for it.

For someone with climate anxiety:

It feels like we all have to go to work everyday doing pointless jobs and pretend the climate and nature crisis isn’t happening. This is overwhelming. But if we change the way we think about our role in the “Great Turning” and systemic energy transition, we can be part of the solution. The way we earn a living doesn’t just have to be that. We can use our jobs to help drive change in our employers and sectors. And if we can’t do that, quit for climate.