One of the major stories that defined the tech sector in 2023 was layoffs. Companies large and small shed over 240,000 jobs in the last year, and while the trend has cooled of late, it hasn’t stopped, with nearly 7,000 jobs cut in November alone.
But there have been bright spots. Climate tech is one sector that has been hiring, and 2024 looks like it will be continuing the trend.
Clean energy jobs have grown 10% in the past two years, outpacing the economy as a whole, according to a report by industry group E2. Through 2032, when the Inflation Reduction Act is set to expire, the fastest-growing job fields include wind turbine technician (45% growth) and solar photovoltaic installer (22% growth), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For startups, 2023 was more muddled. As investors closed their pocketbooks, founders had to make hard choices about how to extend their runways. Some had to resort to layoffs, but not everyone. Many founders I’ve spoken with continue to emphasize that they’re hiring for a variety of roles.
For those laid off from the general tech sector, climate tech would appear to be an appealing pivot, and for many, that’s proving to be true. Nearly every company needs software developers, project managers and designers. Is there a need for 240,000 of them? Probably not yet. And some that look like a close fit might require a bit of climate or energy knowledge on the part of the applicant.
In other words, there’s a skills gap.