Want to work in climatetech? Here’s how to get started

Canary highlights top resources, recruiters and communities to help you land your dream job in renewable energy, cleantech or climate.

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Canary Media’s Climate Meets Culture column explores the intersection of energy, climate and culture at large.

So you want to work in climatetech? Good! We need you.

As someone who has worked in the space for close to a decade (though it was called cleantech or greentech back when I got started), I can attest to how exciting it is and the passionate commitment of those working in it.

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Thanks to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, billions of dollars are flowing into renewable energy and other emissions-reducing technologies, so there has never been a better time to make the leap.

In fact, CNBC reported this past summer that many professionals working at the world’s biggest tech firms have been leaving their high-salaried jobs and moving into climatetech (though probably to equally high-salaried roles). With the more recent news of tech layoffs, that migration of talent will likely only increase.

Resources for breaking into climate and clean energy: Climatetech recruiters

I was recently at an event put on by Greentown Labs, North America’s largest climatetech incubator, where I met with Brendan Andersen of Climate People, a recruiting firm that specializes in transitioning workers to climatetech. We chatted a lot about this migration and the need for more people to be working in climate, so I followed up with him over email to continue the conversation.

At Climate People, we recognize that the climatetech ecosystem is currently in its early adopters’ phase — the people interested in this space are motivated by working in climate,” said Andersen. However, in order to move the needle, we need to engage those who aren’t aware of climate jobs.”

Andersen pointed to a stat from Terra.do, a climate careers platform, that claims 99% of people who will be working in climate by 2030 haven’t begun yet.”

Here are the climatetech-specific recruiters on my radar:

Climate People

EnergeiaWorks

Gaia Human Capital Consultants

Piper Maddox

Peak Demand

Dylan Green

Storm4

Resources for breaking into climate and clean energy: Job boards and directories

At the Greentown Labs event, I also met Kristy Drutman, an environmental and climate communicator more commonly known as Browngirl Green. We chatted about our mutual connections Alaina The Garbage Queen’ Wood and Rollie Williams, and how she was still processing the recent meeting she had with them and President Biden. We then talked about her latest venture, Green Jobs Board.

She told me that men, specifically white men, are overrepresented in the climatetech space, and she wanted to create a more inclusive platform. In a recent Instagram post, she notes that Green Jobs Board will be working to bridge the green divide’ when it comes to getting more people — especially BIPOC, low-income, and folks in the Global South — eventually employed in companies and organizations aligned with addressing the climate crisis.”

(Greentown Labs’ CEO Emily Reichert is also working on changing climatetech’s lack of diversity and recently partnered with Browning the Green Space to launch ACCEL, an accelerator program for BIPOC founders. The window for entrepreneurs to apply is open until December 23.)

Another popular job board is run by Climatebase, which the company says is used by 750,000 jobseekers and 2,500 employers. We also are not just a job board,” co-founder Jesse Hynes told me via email. We are a market network, combining climate jobs, climate news and content, and community through our educational programs like the Climatebase Fellowship.”

Here’s a list of these and other climatetech job boards and directories worth bookmarking.

Climatebase

Climatejobslist

Climate Tech VC

Green Jobs Board

You can also poke around the websites of climatetech incubators and accelerators (like Greentown Labs), as oftentimes they will include job postings for their fledgling companies. 

Similarly, there are a ton of climate-specific venture capital firms, and many of them include job listings for their portfolio companies (for example, check out Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Prelude Ventures).

There’s also Climate Draft, backed by famed investor Chris Sacca and his wife Crystal’s Lowercarbon Capital, which, from what I gather, is like an inverse job board: Candidates can create profiles in hopes of being sought out by prospective climatetech employers, founders and advisers. From there, it offers invite-only drafts, which are described on the website as two-week, cohort-based virtual programs designed to foster valuable connections between top talent and leading climate tech startups.” 

Resources for breaking into climate and clean energy: Online communities

Prior to Greentown Labs’ event last week, there was a bunch of chatter on both the My Climate Journey (MCJ) and the DER Task Force online communities’ Boston channels about attendees meeting up for lunch or for a happy hour (though the latter is technically banned in Massachusetts). I’ve actually written an entire article about the benefits of online climatetech communities, a big one of which is finding job opportunities.

Here are some of the online climatetech communities that I highlighted in that article:

Climatetown

DER Task Force

MCJ Collective

Tofu

Work on Climate

New to the industry? How to get up to speed and learn the lay of the land

I asked Climate People’s Brendan Andersen about his recommendations for climatetech jobseekers. He said, Do your homework and understand as much about the industry as possible. Use climate-specific resources to find jobs — they’re out there to help you.”

I acknowledge my bias here, but we often hear from readers and listeners that Canary’s newsletter and podcasts Catalyst and Carbon Copy are some of the best primers out there for professionals trying to get up to speed and transition into climatetech. 

There are lots of other great newsletters and podcasts, and I’ve done the work of tapping the #energytwitter hivemind to crowdsource those lists for you:

Climate and energy podcast directory

Climate and energy newsletter directory

Another excellent source for a Climatetech 101 lesson is Project Drawdown, which bills itself as the world’s leading resource for climate solutions.” There you’ll find video courses, written reports and other valuable tools to help educate both the climate newcomer and the seasoned professional.

If you’re looking for a more formal educational program, you might consider Terra.do which offers paid climate-oriented courses that can be completed online over the span of 12 weeks. Terra.do founder Anshuman Bapta told me via Twitter that the platform has graduated 2500+ mid-career folks into climate.”

To close out our email conversation, I asked Andersen what other advice he had for prospective climatetech jobseekers, and here is what he had to say:

The thing that sets the climate job community apart is the lack of inherent competition. In any other industry, this impending demand would equate to contention. However, the climate career communities have developed an all-hands-on-deck” mentality and are collaborating for the utmost impact. The more people we have working on climate solutions, the brighter all of our futures will be.

You don’t need to have a formal climate or sustainability education to work in climate,” said Climatebase’s Hynes. Everyone has a role to play.” 

If you’re already working in climatetech, be sure to share this article or other resources with friends and acquaintances who might be ready to join the climate workforce. And we’re hiring too! See Canary’s latest job openings here.

Mike Munsell is director of growth at Canary Media.