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GREENBUILD 2011: Growing green building market supports 661,000 green jobs in the U.S.

October 07, 2011 |


Green jobs are now firmly established in the design and construction workforce, according to a new study released by McGraw-Hill Construction at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo this week in Toronto. According to the study, 35% of architects, engineers and contractors (AEC) report having green jobs today, representing 661,000 jobs and one-third of the industry workforce. That share is expected to increase over the next three years, with 45% of all design and construction jobs being green by 2014.

“Green jobs are already an important part of the construction labor workforce, and signs are that they will become industry standard,” said Harvey Bernstein, vice president, Industry Insights and Alliances for McGraw-Hill Construction. “These numbers reported by the industry match our Dodge green building market sizing; so as green takes over construction activity, so too will green take over the construction workforce.”

The research also shows:

  • AEC workers report green jobs on the rise at levels that match the McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge green building market sizing
  • 35% of AEC firms focus on green jobs today, in line with the green building market share of 35% in 2010
  • 45% of AEC firms expect to have green jobs by 2014, in line with the green building market share of 48%-50% by 2015
  • Trades jobs (carpenters, HVAC/boilermakers, electricians, concrete/cement masons, and plumbers) are expected to see the greatest growth in green jobs; 15% of trades today are green jobs, and this is expected to increase to 25% in three years
  • Green jobs yield advantages such as more opportunity (42%) and better career advancement (41%), according to respondents
  • Training is essential for getting and maintaining green jobs; 30% of green job workers say they needed major training when they started, and most report that formal education and training programs will continue to be needed. Hiring firms agree; 71% of hiring decision makers maintain that being green-certified increases competitiveness.

This study is the first to focus exclusively on design and construction professionals and trades workers. “Green jobs” are defined as those involving more than 50% of work on green projects or designing and installing uniquely green systems, while excluding support or administrative professionals and manufacturing, production or transportation-related services. The premier partners include the U.S. Green Building Council and the American Institute of Architects. Other partners include the Society for Marketing Professional Services, National Association of the Remodelers Industry, and the Building & Construction Trades Department of the AFL/CIO. BD+C

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