Sustainability Jobs

Sustainability jobs is a Google search trend I stumbled upon in my SEO keyword research. I love this trend because it shows that people want to earn money by doing good for the planet.

Sustainability Jobs

Happy Earth Day! To celebrate, I'm launching this newsletter which covers sustainability topics from an SEO perspective. This first newsletter gives the "paid" version to everyone who signed up for free.  

In this newsletter, I share some insights on sustainability trends I've discovered in Google search as a professional SEO writer and avid trend watcher.

I've seen major traffic for sustainability jobs

Judging from the Google search traffic, people don't just want lifestyle changes, they want their life's path and career to link to sustainability. This is a great content opportunity, since you can help them find the resources to jumpstart their sustainability careers or transition from their existing work.

Quick overview

According to a survey summarized in this Fast Company article, millennials are choosing their employers based on sustainability.

  • 70% said they prefer to work in a company with a strong sustainability agenda
  • Almost 75% said they would take a pay cut to work at a sustainable company.
  • Almost 40% said that they’ve chosen a job in the past because the company performed better on sustainability than the alternative

Similar studies have confirmed the same is true for even younger Gen Z employees, who also care about mission-driven businesses and diversity, equity, and inclusion in addition to environmental sustainability.

But what is a "sustainable" job? A wide array of jobs in many emerging industries could meet this definition.

Here are some examples of industries that fit the bill: sustainable finance, renewable energy and electric grid infrastructure, electric vehicles, battery storage, bio-fuels, recycling, repair and refurbishing, secondhand goods, organic farming, regenerative agriculture, fair trade goods, vegan food, food access and equity, diversity, equity and inclusion, urban climate adaptation, environmental restoration projects, green buildings and retrofitting, climate justice advocacy, climate policy, environmental education, nature and psychology, corporate responsibility, climate risk data analytics, carbon offsetting and direct air capture, sustainable fashion, sustainable product design, sustainable business marketing, and more.  

Writing content for the audience of people seeking access and insights on finding sustainability jobs could present a great opportunity for your blog.

Deep dive

(included in the paid version only)

While job searches are certainly imbued with aspirational choice, we can't completely view job searchers in isolation from the broader political and economic contexts. Countries are decoupling their GDP from fossil fuel emissions and pursuing nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to align with the Paris Agreement, which has led most developed countries to set net zero goals by 2050.

At the same time, the movement for environmental sustainability goals and social responsibility goals are intertwined. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) challenge every organization to make societal improvements based on the 17 intersecting goals.

In the U.S., Obama aimed to fulfill a campaign promise initially linking 5 million new jobs to the low carbon economy, but it proved difficult at that time. Now Biden is continuing that legacy with The American Jobs Plan.  

Many different target audiences have stakes and interests in these goals, specifically regarding jobs. For instance, people who rely on jobs in fossil fuel industries worry about their future guarantee for a career. The largest coal workers' union in the U.S. recently supported Biden's push for renewable energy with certain job-linked conditions.

Activist and advocacy groups seek intersecting climate and social solutions. The Sunrise Movement launched its recent Good Jobs For All pledge, connecting the climate crisis and unemployment as problems that can be solved together. The Climate Justice Alliance includes meaningful jobs and equitable redistribution as tenets of a just transition to a low carbon economy.

These examples show how different audiences and groups of people have unique stakes in the need for a just transition. Not only are people seeking jobs in sustainability, they're seeking an assurance that there will be access to sustainable jobs, meaningful work, and job security.

On the other hand, until sustainability-linked jobs become more abundant, people may continue to perceive these industries and jobs as exclusive, niche opportunities. This perception still lingers, since the green economy has long been seen as a boutique or high-priced alternative to conventional products, rather than a mainstream movement. Those perceptions are going to be hard to shake, even as the entire world shifts toward net-zero goals.  

As technological solutions to climate change become more popular, sustainable jobs may attract more people graduating from STEM degrees. This could perpetuate the sense of elitism surrounding green jobs and lifestyles.

It's important to help your target audience navigate these issues, by creating content that situates writing on jobs that addresses their specific needs and aspirations. By addressing the sustainable jobs issues unique to your audience--whether it's a younger audience seeking entry-level jobs, or Women in Climate Tech--you can support them with helpful resources to create more impactful content.  

3 SEO blogging quick tips for this trend

  1. Choose the right keywords: Don't have good keyword research tools? No worries. You can choose keywords based on these formulas: "sustainability term + jobs" "sustainable company name + jobs" or "sustainability-linked job title + jobs." Add your main keyword to the title, URL and meta-description of your blog post.
  2. Searcher intent: People searching for a phrase with the word "jobs" in it are likely searching for job listings. That doesn't mean you can't provide more context on the job market and opportunities which might pique others' interest. Let's face it, we all daydream about changing jobs from time to time. Listicles are a great way to help people explore these fantasies.
  3. Audience: The keywords that fall under this trend will attract a target audience of college students or early- to mid-career professionals. Searchers for these terms care about sustainability enough to devote their lives to a purpose-driven profession. That's why they'll attract a good audience to any sustainability-oriented site.  

3 sample content ideas  

(included in the paid version only)

  1. Interview an employee of a sustainable job at a well-known company like Tesla or the National Park Service to see what it's like to work there.
  2. Provide a round-up of how-to tips for job seekers based on the most likely career stage of your target audience. This may be transitioning careers into the low carbon economy, starting new careers and seeking internships, or adding a green element to their existing career.
  3. Optimize your own job listing category pages for search with appropriate keywords.

Top 10 low-difficulty keyword opportunities

(included in the paid version only for full list and stats)

  • Tesla jobs (54K MSV, 22 KD, $1.10 CPC)
  • Environmental science jobs (14K MSV, 35 KD, $1.70 CPC)
  • Park ranger jobs (11K MSV, 24 KD, $0.60 CPC)
  • Nature jobs (7.4K MSV, 21 KD, $0.60 CPC)
  • Nature conservancy jobs (5.9K MSV, 6 KD, $1.3 CPC)
  • Sustainability jobs (5.6K MSV, 11KD, $2.5 CPC)
  • Entry level environmental jobs (2.4K MSV, 6 KD, $1.00 CPC)
  • Climate change jobs (2.1K MSV, 5KD, $1.60 CPC)
  • Wildlife conservation jobs (2.1K MSV, 11 KD, $1.90 CPC)
  • Solar energy jobs (1.3K MSV, 24 KD, $3.00 CPC)

High performing article examples

(full details included in the paid version only)

Obviously, some of the sites getting traffic from these keywords are often recruiting sites with loads of jobs postings. As these examples show, however, informative blogs and listicles can also attract some of the organic traffic.

11 Of The Best Nature Jobs For Outdoor Enthusiasts

  • Keyword ranking: No. 4 position in the SERPs for the keyword “nature jobs”
  • Monthly traffic: 456
  • Site domain authority: 69
  • URL authority: 19
  • Details: This article had me at the hook: “Let’s admit it: working in an office, with the grey cubicles and fluorescent lighting, isn’t for everyone.” It’s a great example of how good content marketing can use opportunity keywords to draw your target audience to your site. You’ll notice that tentree is a sustainable fashion company, not a recruiting site. So how did they rank so well on this topic? Starting with the title and subtitle, everything about this article works. The text is not only easy to read and conversationally engaging, it has a perfect font size and paragraph length to aid the user experience and ease of reading.

21 Entry Level Environmental Jobs for Anyone Looking To Break Into the Environmental Sector

  • Keyword ranking: No. 4 position in the SERPs for the keyword “entry level environmental jobs”
  • Monthly traffic: 160
  • Site domain authority: 44
  • URL authority: 14
  • Details: This article is a round up of descriptions of jobs for people to pursue along with the job prerequisites. This is helpful for younger people who are shopping around for their future careers. I think the intro to this article could be a lot better, but the listicle layout is very user-friendly.

Sustainability job resources

  • Keyword ranking: No. 7 position in the SERPs for the keyword “sustainability jobs”
  • Monthly traffic: 54
  • Site domain authority: 88
  • URL authority: 22
  • Details: Here is a great list of sites that provide listings of sustainability jobs. Curating helpful resources is always a great option for producing content that people will find indispensable.

Samples of my own work linked to this trend

I hope you've enjoyed this newsletter! I also welcome your feedback. Please send your comments to erica@ericaeller.com. Coming up next week, you'll receive highlights on another popular sustainability trend and its SEO keywords: vegan food.

This newsletter is written by Erica Eller. I'm a self-employed content marketing writer for sustainable businesses.