3 Must-Have Skills for the Booming Green Jobs Market in Fashion & Design

Ignite your eco-champion potential in the green jobs market, where sustainability meets style and careers bloom.

The fashion and design industry has undergone a remarkable transformation, with sustainability emerging as a pivotal focus for both businesses and consumers. As the demand for eco-friendly and ethical products continues to soar, the need for professionals equipped with specialized skills in the green jobs market becomes increasingly important.

Many young professionals and graduate students, however, are unsure about the best skills to invest in. According to the World Economic Forum, half of the youth population expresses concerns about not possessing the right skills that will guarantee them dignified employment in the next 5 to 10 years.[1] Surprisingly, despite the exponential growth rate of 8% per year in green jobs over the past five years, after an analysis of 800 million profiles, LinkedIn data reveals a significant shortage of individuals listing green skills on their profiles.[2]

This discrepancy is attributed to the phenomenon known as “skill mismatch,”[3] where there is a misalignment between the skills demanded by companies and those possessed by young individuals after their education. Consequently, if you aspire to pursue a career in sustainable fashion and design, you may also feel the effects of this mismatch.

To navigate this thriving field and acquire the necessary skills for the green jobs market, here are the key factors propelling its growth and the three essential skills that set professionals apart in the world of sustainable fashion and design.


Your Passport to the Green Market: Sustainability Knowledge and Expertise

To thrive in the green jobs market, one must possess a solid foundation in sustainability knowledge and expertise. This entails a deep understanding of the environmental and social impact of the fashion and design industry, as well as the ability to develop sustainable practices and innovative solutions. Essential components of this skill set include familiarity with sustainable materials, comprehensive knowledge of manufacturing processes, expertise in supply chain management, and proficiency in waste reduction strategies.[4]

In today’s economy, there is a significant demand for individuals with a scientific background, and the sustainability market is no exception. According to the LinkedIn Global Green Skills Report of 2022, professionals well-versed in sustainable practices are highly sought after in the fashion and design industry.[5] Notably, sustainable fashion stands out as the fastest-growing green skill globally, boasting an impressive average growth rate of 90.6% from 2016 to 2020. Employers actively seek individuals who can seamlessly integrate sustainability principles into every stage of the product lifecycle, ranging from design and production to distribution.

Acquiring these valuable skills often involves pursuing a specialized academic path. Bachelor’s and master’s programs with a sustainability focus have become increasingly mainstream, providing comprehensive education in the field. For those who possess degrees unrelated to sustainability, supplementing their technical background with specialized seminars and certified online content can offer practical applications of sustainability knowledge, effectively bridging the gap and enhancing their qualifications.[6]

With a strong foundation in sustainability knowledge and expertise, individuals gain a competitive edge in the green jobs market. These essential skills open up a range of opportunities, including positions within:

  1. Sustainable Materials Research and Development Departments
  2. Supply Chain and Logistics Management Teams
  3. Sustainable Product Development Divisions
  4. Environmental Compliance and Regulation Departments
  5. Sustainability Consultancy Firms
  6. Circular Economy and Waste Management Initiatives
  7. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Departments

Designing a Greener World

In the rapidly evolving landscape of sustainable fashion and design, creativity and innovation play a pivotal role. Professionals in this industry must go beyond traditional approaches and cultivate innovative solutions that minimize environmental impact while meeting consumer needs.

And to meet those needs, the field needs more sustainable designers. An intriguing trend in the field is the rising concept of “Biophilic Design.”[7] This innovative approach seeks to seamlessly integrate nature and landscapes into architecture and furniture design, offering benefits to both the environment and individuals. Designers take inspiration from nature, incorporating environmental elements into structures, utilizing organic shapes and forms, optimizing natural light and space, and mirroring natural processes. Biophilic Design promotes occupant connectivity to the natural environment, providing numerous health, environmental, and economic advantages with minimal drawbacks.

Design is not merely a subject but also a mindset in this dynamic environment. Alongside captivating subjects like Biophilic Design, the application of “Design Thinking” presents a highly adaptable and non-linear framework for generating innovation and development through a creative approach.[8] Originating in California over 20 years ago, Design Thinking aids in resolving complex problems with a flexible and imaginative perspective. Researchers have explored how Design Thinking can be applied to sustainability-oriented innovations, revealing exciting opportunities and challenges. As a sustainability professional, mastering these new design trends will set you apart and generate innovative impact within the sector.


Communication: Bridging Gaps and Breaking Barriers

While sustainability expertise and design are considered hard skills, young workers must also develop soft skills such as in communications, stakeholder engagement, storytelling, cross-cultural communication, negotiation, and Public Relations. In the interconnected world of sustainable fashion and design, collaboration and effective communication are indispensable. Green jobs often necessitate working with diverse stakeholders, including designers, manufacturers, suppliers, consumers, and policymakers. The ability to collaborate across sectors, engage stakeholders and articulate sustainability concepts effectively is crucial for driving positive change.

Aspiring professionals can enhance these skills by actively engaging in networking opportunities, joining industry associations and organizations, and participating in sustainability-focused events and conferences. These platforms provide valuable opportunities to practice and develop communication skills, engage with stakeholders, and learn from industry leaders. Additionally, staying informed about industry trends, emerging technologies, and best practices in sustainable fashion and design can further enhance communication skills and keep professionals at the forefront of the field.


Take the First Step

While the path to finding the perfect job in the sustainability sector may seem like navigating uncharted territory, there is good news. The green jobs market in fashion and design is flourishing, driven by the growing demand for sustainable and ethical practices. To seize opportunities in this industry, professionals must equip themselves with a diverse skill set that extends beyond the essentials. From sustainability knowledge to design thinking, collaboration, and communication, these skills can be acquired and applied, even if it’s your first foray into the world of sustainability. So, fear not if you’re new to the game. With the right tools and a passion for positive change, you can chart a successful course in the vibrant green jobs market of fashion and design. Get ready to make your mark and embark on a journey where passion meets purpose, and sustainability becomes your compass to a fulfilling career.



[1] “These are the skills young people will need for the green jobs of the future.” Available at: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/08/these-are-the-skills-young-people-will-need-for-the-green-jobs-of-the-future/

[2]“Global Green Skills Report 2022:” Available at: https://economicgraph.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/economicgraph/en-us/global-green-skills-report/global-green-skills-report-pdf/li-green-economy-report-2022-annex.pdf

[3] “What is skills mismatch and why should we care?” Available at: https://www.ilo.org/skills/Whatsnew/WCMS_740388/lang–en/index.htm

[4] “These are the skills young people will need for the green jobs of the future.” Available at: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/08/these-are-the-skills-young-people-will-need-for-the-green-jobs-of-the-future/

[5] “Global Green Skills Report 2022:” Available at:  https://news.linkedin.com/2022/february/our-2022-global-green-skills-report

[6] “Green jobs are booming but too few employees have sustainability skills.” Available at: https://theconversation.com/green-jobs-are-booming-but-too-few-employees-have-sustainability-skills-to-fill-them-here-are-4-ways-to-close-the-gap-193953

[7] “The six elements of Biophilic Design.” Available at:  https://thermory.com/blog-and-news/the-six-elements-of-biophilic-design/

[8] “Why and how design thinking can foster sustainability.” Available at:  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0959652619317950


Author: Giuseppe Scandariato