Sustainable development: outlets that live up to expectations.

Despite the increase in job offers in the green economy, companies remain very demanding, and are sometimes reluctant to recruit young graduates, whom they do not consider sufficiently trained.

Are there enough jobs in sustainable development for all the students who want them? “ For the moment yes , confides Frank Debouck, Centrale director in Lyon. Demand in this sector is growing and we bet that supply will continue to keep pace with demand.

In the wake of the director, recruiters are unanimous: the market is favorable to candidates. In sustainable development, “ you cannot be unemployed ”, asserts Justin Longuenesse, CEO of Imagreen, a recruitment firm specializing in renewable energies, which has already made 150 recruitments in 2019 (compared to 100 in 2018). “ Out of four offers, two to three are struggling to be filled ,” he says.

According to data from the Ministry of the Environment, more than 530,000 job offers concerned jobs in the green economy in 2018, i.e. nearly 16% of all offers published by Pôle emploi over the year. “More and more companies have taken the measure of the climate challenge, whether with the introduction of the concept of ‘raison d’être’ by the Pacte law or the rise of CSR policies ”, adds Caroline Renoux at the head of Birdeo, a recruitment firm specializing in sustainable development. This year, the company posted 200 job vacancies, up 60% from 2016.

Painful trainings

If the technical trades are kings, the commercial and support functions are increasingly in tension, say the experts. Birdeo has identified professions that are particularly in demand among juniors: climate manager analyst and specialist climate consultant. For engineers, renewable energies are essential. “Wind power, photovoltaics, and to a lesser extent biomass, are buoyant sectors, including for juniors ,” adds Jens Bicking, CEO of Elatos, a firm specializing in the environment and energy businesses.

However, young people trained in all these skills are missing. “Sustainable development is not sufficiently integrated into training. Many young people do finance, for example, without learning SRI (Socially Responsible Investment). Many do marketing, but they are not told how to do sustainable marketing”, tackle Justin Longuenesse.

Companies are struggling to recruit, due to a lack of qualified profiles on the market and also because of excessively high requirements, according to recruitment firms. They tend to focus on profiles with at least 5 years of experience. However, in-house training can sometimes be enough.

On ‘hard skills’, we haven’t reinvented much. All the technical skills are already present in the industry, when working in a gas plant or in the operation of wind power plants, an electrical engineer has the same skills”, specifies Justin Longuenesse, who rather points to “soft skills”: recruits must demonstrate agility, be able to integrate into smaller companies such as start-ups or SMEs and, in fact, be versatile and able to juggle projects.

Wages that balance out

The salaries remain, sometimes too low compared to the expectations of graduates of the grandes écoles. “Some candidates have completely unrealistic requests, asking when they leave school for 45,000 euros gross per year ”, indicates Caroline Renoux, who has nevertheless observed in recent years an average increase of 10 to 15% in salaries in the sector.

In Birdeo’s latest compensation survey, a project manager or CSR/sustainable development project manager in a company can expect to earn 39,000 euros gross annually (excluding variable); a CSR manager 61,000 euros; a director 105,000 euros.

Imagreen, meanwhile, specifies that a junior salesperson can hope to receive, in Ile-de-France, between 28,000 and 30,000 euros in fixed salary. Financial profiles are much better off: from 38 to 40,000 euros for juniors. In renewable energies, the latest Greenunivers survey points out that young engineering executives “ with no or very little experience can sometimes negotiate very attractive gross annual salaries, close to 40,000 euros.

Credit: Les Echos Start