Hiring climate talent amidst the big tech layoffs
Highly-qualified tech talent is more abundant than it has been in many years.
For the first time since the COVID-induced tech boom, the employee-centric market has flipped on its head and is leaning in favor of employers. The big tech layoffs at companies like Meta, Twitter, Amazon, Stripe, etc., have resulted in exceptional candidates actively job searching.
As unfortunate as this might seem on the surface, it’s an opportunity for leading professionals to transition their careers to climate. As this Fortune Magazine article mentions, “Big tech is laying off workers. The growing ‘green collar’ job industry hopes to recruit them,” the ‘great resignation’ may be more like a ‘great realignment.’
Companies that once weren’t able to compete with the “golden handcuffs” of big tech now have access to this talent. The competition once limited to flashy well-funded Silicon Valley startups is shrinking, giving smaller-stage and mission-oriented companies a chance.
This is only just the beginning of an industry-wide shift towards climate jobs. According to predictions from Terra.do we need 100 million people working on climate solutions to combat the worsening effects of climate change, 99% of people who will be working in climate by 2030 haven't begun.
The demand for climate talent that currently exists will only continue to grow at an exponential rate as new solutions hit the market. The entire ClimateTech ecosystem is now in its ‘early adopters’ phase; the people interested in this space are motivated by working in climate. However, we need to engage those unaware of climate jobs to accelerate these startups' growth.
The shift from big tech opens the door for people not intrinsically motivated by climate to consider it a possible career path. With larger tech companies offering less job security paired with worsening climate conditions and a dire need for solutions, the ClimateTech ecosystem is growing amidst the greater economic downfall. In essence, ClimateTech provides protection — for both employers and employees — during the big tech layoff scare.
The Climate People team recently conducted a survey that pinpointed the top barriers preventing people from working in climate. The top three takeaways for companies looking to hire climate-motivated talent were:
- People not already in the climate community are not using climate-specific resources to find jobs. It’s critical to source outside the climate ecosystem to attract a broader and more diverse set of candidates. 60% of prospective job seekers are using LinkedIn as their primary job search tool.
- We encourage companies to change their perspectives around the ideal candidate. Ask yourself is mission-alignment 100% necessary. We’re in the early adopter's climate phase, and most job seekers aren’t fully aware of climate jobs. The wider your scope, the more quality candidates you will discover. We need 100 million people working on climate; we can’t afford to be hyper-selective. 51% of respondents said that they are disqualifying themselves and aren’t applying to jobs because they don’t have climate industry experience.
- To compete, climate companies must prioritize the real-world factors that go into the job decision-making process. Candidates care about climate and the mission but aren’t willing to sacrifice salary, flexibility, remote work (job dependent), etc. When asked about why working on climate is important, 79% said ‘reducing emissions’; however, when asked which real-life job factors were most important, that number dropped to 55%, and factors like ‘pay’ (23%→54%) and ‘job security’ (19%→41%) increased two-fold.
It’s critical for companies to strongly consider talent that is just learning about ClimateTech work or those who may not explicitly be searching for jobs in the space. Understanding that job seeker motivations extend beyond emissions reduction and climate impact will help hiring managers attract talent that will provide the most value in the long term. Real-world considerations like pay, job security, company culture, and flexibility are still primary considerations and must be considered.
According to Climate Tech Venture Capital, there was $64B of new dollars for climate in 2022. Alongside the millions of VC dollars entering the space, the Inflation Reduction Act has guaranteed $370 billion in climate spending over ten years — incentivizing innovation and making it easier for companies to scale their solutions. More funding directly equates to more jobs.
All in all, countless high-end tech talent are considering a career in climate. For companies with product market fit, secure capital, and a solid runway, now, more than ever, is the time to take advantage of the available talent on the market.
We know times are tough for businesses now, and companies of all sizes and in every industry are experiencing financial and economic hardships. However, as we saw in 2008, economic downturns and times of market uncertainty serve as fertile grounds that grow exceptional, competent, and, most importantly, resilient companies.
Need help hiring? The team at Climate People has placed over 70 individuals in climate roles, and we’d be happy to discuss your company’s hiring strategy.