Chris Russell is the CEO of AllCountyJobs.com and the man behind greenjobspider.com, a new jobs search engine that caters strictly to "green jobs." He is also the founder of JobRadio.fm, the first ever "career advice internet radio station." He sat down with Vault.com to discuss his his latest initiative, Greenjobspider.com, and offer some insight on questions like, what are green jobs, what professions are in demand, which industries are hiring and his predictions on the future of a nascent "green job market."
What are some of the key indicators that drew you to start Greenjobspider.com?
I started to gain interest in the green job market in early 2009 after experimenting with a few niche sites for solar and wind. As I researched the sector online I realized that renewable energy will become the next great job market. Companies are more interested in green than ever before, legislation is being passed to encourage green technology and incentives are being offered to go green. I also started to find dozens of places online that offered green jobs but quickly realized this was a fragmented user experience. So I thought about ways to aggregate these jobs and the result is GreenJobSpider.com, one of the first niche job search engines that focuses on the green job market.
How would you define "green jobs"? Are they restricted to construction, manufacturing and utilities roles?
There are various ways to define green jobs but basically they are jobs that create, support, maintain or regulate renewable energy products or services. So while there are definitely many construction and manufacturing roles in green, there are also green sales, marketing, finance & engineering jobs.
What industries are you seeing the most growth in for green jobs?
Right now Solar is hot especially in the Southwest, in states like California, Arizona and Colorado. Wind jobs are also rising so there is good demand for wind turbine technicians. And anything to do with energy efficiency such as home weatherization is very hot.
Are there any specific industries where there is more demand than supply for green jobs?
Any kind of engineering skills are very sought after. Most sectors of the green industry need them in great supply. These jobs could range from Solar Design Engineers to Chemical Engineers for biofuels.
What are the top five functions that you see increasingly highlighted in the job postings?
1. Solar Panel installers
2. Solar engineers
3. Energy Efficiency experts
4. Green building/construction
5. Green Sales reps
Do you offer additional training, etc. for people who might be new to the green field?
No but we do offer other resources such as the Green Jobcast (bi-weekly podcast about green jobs) a green jobs blog and event calendar with green job fairs and conferences to go to.
Are you seeing a huge demand from jobseekers for green jobs? There have been several polls that suggest that there is a lack of understanding on what constitutes a green job. Does that reflect in the traffic for Greenjobspider?
We just launched a few weeks ago but we have received almost 10,000 visitors in the first month. There is definitely an awareness issue about green jobs from a job seeker standpoint. I have heard that it's a very talked about subject among college grads, but it will take a few years before the general public realizes the growth this job market represents.
Can you layout some basic qualifications one must have to consider applying for a green job? Technical vs. soft skills, etc.
Well the first thing I'd say you need is a passion for this industry. Good communication and writing skills are also paramount. Beyond that, get as much technical training as you can. Get certified in things like LEED. There are a number of green training companies popping up. Google 'green jobs training' and you'll see what I mean. Many companies in green are new so now is a good time to get your foot in the door.
As we begin to recover from the recession, any predictions for the green sector?
I'm bullish on the green job market. We are just in the early stages, however ,so it will take a few more years before the industry really begins to take root. But a number of opportunities to work in this sector are here today so get out there---go green, get hired!