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Driven By Impact: What to Expect in the 2024 Climate Job Market

Your weekly recap + upcoming climate events

Driven By Impact 🌱

Edition 41: February 1, 2024

The Volatile Job Market of 2023 Gives Way to a Promising Outlook in 2024

In the ever-changing landscape of the job market, 2023 was a year filled with unique challenges. The climate landscape saw limited growth, startups grappled with hiring complexities, and funding freezes halted company growth plans. Yet, as we step into 2024, there is renewed hope and innovative solutions to these struggles. This blog aims to delve into the hiring and job-seeking struggles of 2023 while shedding light on potential solutions for 2024.

The Hiring Challenges of 2023

The climate sector witnessed a paradoxical situation in 2023. As layoffs increased across various industries, many job seekers sought greater impact and meaning in their careers through working in the climate space. However, the limited job openings, particularly for non-technical positions, led to frustration for many. The result? An influx of applications, yet not enough opportunities to absorb the talent.

SOURCE: https://x.com/Layoffsfyi/status/1708874019368493169?s=20

‍Startups, too, faced their unique set of challenges. With budgets slashed, Founders sometimes tried to combine multiple jobs into one. Compounding the problem was the limited experience in hiring for some companies and apprehension about making incorrect hiring decisions. This resulted in extraordinarily long hiring processes that often resulted in companies looking for “unicorn” hires.

SOURCE: https://netzeroinsights.com/state-of-climate-tech-2023/#:~:text=2023 State of Climate Tech,stakeholder perspectives%3B offering unparalleled analysis.

‍Funding freezes also played a significant role in the hiring struggles of 2023. Companies that had planned for growth had to reduce headcount drastically. As previously stated, organizations were looking for 'unicorn' hires, which led to risk aversion.

Moreover, the diversity in the climate sector posed another challenge. These companies, embedded in various spaces or creating new industries, had starkly different hiring needs. This led to nuanced recruiting strategies, adding another layer of complexity to the job-seeking process.

The nuances of the situation were further complicated by various factors such as the company's stage, the role being filled, and the type of solution required. Early-stage companies often found themselves in need of more technical talent but were limited by financial constraints and a lack of industry experience among their workforce. On the other hand, later-stage companies looked for individuals with extensive experience but faced competition from larger and more stable organizations. Established verticals like transportation and energy encountered challenges in securing funding while emerging ones like food/agriculture and carbon capture grappled with novel solutions and the intricacies of a nascent market. According to Net Zero Insights, 60% of all funding in 2023 was directed towards adoption technologies - innovations that already exist and require scaling. In contrast, a mere fraction of that amount went towards breakthrough solutions, which necessitate further research and development. This dynamic made navigating the landscape of new solutions particularly challenging.

Finally, the sheer number of applications overwhelmed many companies. The ease of application processes and the One-Click application feature many job boards offer led to a massive influx of candidates, many of whom were under-qualified and lacked demonstrated interest in a career in climate (a key hiring criteria for most companies). This forced companies to rely heavily on their networks to find talent, as limited bandwidth prevented them from managing all the applications.

Solutions for Hiring in 2024

As we look forward to 2024, Canary Media reports that the landscape is showing signs of positive change. For Series B and later-stage companies, the funding landscape is expected to improve significantly, taking the pressure off of existing teams and allowing for growth.

Early-stage companies are also advised to be more strategic with their hiring processes. If they lack the bandwidth to handle large volumes of applications, leveraging their network or working with a specialized recruiter can save valuable time. The advantage of using a recruiter becomes even more significant when in-house resources are limited, and your network isn’t able to help you find the best possible candidates for a given position.

Job seekers, too, can adopt a more strategic approach. Focusing on three sectors, understanding where their skills are transferable, and networking can open up new opportunities. Leveraging projects to demonstrate their skills can also make them stand out from the crowd. This strategy will be essential in the 2024 climate job market. Read a step-by-step guide on how to do this here.

The hiring and job-seeking landscape of 2023 was riddled with challenges. However, as we step into 2024, the future looks promising. With improved funding prospects, strategic hiring practices, and a more focused approach from job seekers, we can expect to navigate these struggles successfully. Here's to a year of growth, opportunity, and successful hiring!

🌎 WHAT: Climate Job Seeker LinkedIn Live Q&A
🗓️ WHEN: 2/8 @ 3 pm EST
📍WHERE: https://bit.ly/Feb8LILIVE

🌎 WHAT: ​MCJ + Climate People CCA: How To Craft a Compelling Resume
🗓️ WHEN: 2/14 @12 pm EST
📍WHERE: https://lu.ma/MCJClimateCareerAdvancement

🌎 WHAT: ​The Climate Job Search: How to Break in and Stand Out
🗓️ WHEN: 2/20 @12 pm EST
📍WHERE: https://lu.ma/climatejobs

🌎 WHAT: Playing Through Your Career Change: Networking Advice: Session 2
WHEN: 2/27 @ 12 pm EST
🗓️ WHERE: https://lu.ma/climatenetworking101

→ Last week, we hosted Radhika Bhatt for a session on “Humanizing the Job Search.” Watch the recording here. 

→ We also hosted the first session of our networking mini-series with Laurie McGinley. Watching the recording of “Playing Through Your Career Change.”

→ Missed last week’s edition? It was a jam-packed one! Check it out here.

**We do not accept sponsors for this newsletter. All of these external promos are our genuine recommendations 💚**

 Natalie is going live with the Career Sprout team on Friday to discuss all things climate jobs. Reserve your spot here!

→ Is clean hydrogen feasible in the near future? Canary Media visualized where we currently stand and where we need to be.

→ Nat Bullard’s State of Decarbonization Report. It’s big news! Check it out. 

DECARBONIZING BUILDING MATERIALS

The challenge of decarbonization in the building sector extends beyond new constructions to include the transformation of existing buildings. These structures account for nearly 14% of global emissions, posing a significant obstacle to sustainability goals. Inefficient insulation and poor ventilation contribute to energy loss and higher costs, impacting both the environment and financial well-being. However, investing in retrofits and deep energy interventions can reduce energy consumption and emissions by 50% or more, significantly mitigating the carbon impact of existing buildings.

Strategic material substitutions and policies supporting low-embodied-carbon products can expedite the transformation of existing buildings from carbon-emitting to carbon-storing entities. Companies like LuxWall, LiveRoof, AeroSeal, and others offer innovative solutions for addressing energy inefficiencies and promoting sustainable building materials. By advocating for strategic retrofitting and leveraging these technologies, we can collectively drive the transition toward a more sustainable and carbon-neutral building sector.

WE WANT TO GET TO KNOW YOU! 💚

Reply to this email with a bit about your climate journey! We respond to each and every email we receive.

Have any feedback? We’d love to hear it!

Want to share your work/resources? Send it over and we will slate it for a future edition!

🪴 INTERCONNECTION SPECIALIST
Our client is seeking an experienced interconnection/transmission planning engineer to join their mission of accelerating the transition to a reliable, decarbonized grid. The ideal candidate will have 4+ years of experience in ISO/RTO/utility interconnection processes, be adept at running power flow studies, and be familiar with public data sources relevant to interconnection. This role involves informing software developers of regional interconnection study processes, collaborating with customers to demonstrate software solutions, and defining product requirements to support the company's roadmap. Expertise in Python scripting and other transmission planning studies is a plus, and a degree in EE/ECE is preferred. If you're passionate about solving critical infrastructure challenges, this role offers the opportunity to make a significant impact on tackling the interconnection bottleneck for grid operators and project developers.

🪴 FUNDING RESEARCH LEAD
Join a global consultancy dedicated to securing large-scale grant funding for high-impact climate solutions. As the first Funding Research Lead, you will play a pivotal role in identifying and assessing funders and funding opportunities, driving the comprehensive Funding Ecosystem Map process, and managing crucial tools to streamline and improve the Ecosystem Mapping process. This position offers significant growth potential and requires a mission-driven individual with proven grant management and research skills, deep engagement with the grant and non-dilutive funding ecosystem, and exceptional interpersonal and project management abilities. If you're passionate about accelerating climate solutions and possess the required experience and skill set, we want to hear from you.

🪴 CUSTOMER SUCCESS MANAGER
Join a profitable and fully remote climate tech startup dedicated to revolutionizing renewable energy development in the US. As a Customer Success Manager, your primary focus will be ensuring customer satisfaction for renewable energy project developers. With responsibilities encompassing customer engagement and retention, account management and expansion, as well as serving as a trusted technical advisor, this role requires deep knowledge of transmission and interconnection topics, strong relationship-building skills, and a passion for influencing the energy transition. If you have 3+ years of experience in account management, sales, or a similar customer-facing role in the utility industry and are eager to accelerate the US's renewable goals, we want to hear from you.

🪴 LEAD GRANTS MANAGER
➵ Join a global consultancy committed to securing substantial grant funding for the development and expansion of impactful climate solutions. As a Grant Development Lead, you'll play a pivotal role in leveraging your grant writing expertise to support an ambitious venture within the under-resourced climate industry. Collaborating with senior staff, funding directors, and clients, you will refine projects and business strategies to enhance funding prospects. This role offers significant growth potential and requires 5+ years of grant writing or technical proposal development experience, a scientific/technical background, and a strong dedication to addressing climate change.

🪴 FULL STACK ENGINEER
This job opportunity is with a fully remote and profitable climate tech startup that has developed a software platform to assist renewable energy developers. They are seeking a Full-Stack Engineer who will lead new product work, interact with users, ideate on features, give feedback on designs, and build out those features. This role will involve working directly with the CTO on scoping new features and engineering plans and launching new features and markets in the US. The ideal candidate is a product-minded Engineer with 2+ years of experience, proficient in React, TypeScript and Python, and has a history of continuous learning and operating in ambiguity. Experience in the utility industry or projects supporting electric transmission, distribution, and substation design is a plus.

That's all for this edition! Thanks for doing your part in mobilizing a workforce transition to work on climate!