cover image: Profiling Green Jobs and Workers in South Africa: An Occupational Tasks Approach


Profiling Green Jobs and Workers in South Africa: An Occupational Tasks Approach

21 May 2024

To adequately prepare the labor force for the green economy, policy makers and workers require a detailed understanding of the nature of green jobs. This study profiles green jobs in the South African labor market. It uses labor force survey data and applies an occupational task-based approach to identify current green occupations and associated jobs, count them, and profile their workers and wages. The findings show that 5.5 to 32 percent of South Africa’s jobs can be labeled as “green,” where the former estimate uses a strict definition and the latter uses a broad definition. The share of strictly green jobs has not changed over the past eight years. While 65 percent of strictly green occupations can be classified as high (skill) occupations, only 55 percent of workers are in these occupations, reflecting numerous employment opportunities in mid-level and elementary green occupations. Strictly green occupations tend to be male-dominated and held by prime-age (25–44) workers with post-secondary school. However, the profile of those in the greenest of the green occupations shows that they are older (age 45–65) workers and Black Africans with lower than completed high school education. Policies to prepare South Africans to engage in the green economy include developing a strategy to teach new and existing workers to use green technologies; targeting green occupations in youth development programs; making a concerted effort to support women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; helping low-skilled green workers to organize and improve their work conditions; and continuing to collect and analyze data for better tracking South Africa’s progress in becoming a green labor force.
sustainable development south africa environmental economics green jobs labor market structure green occupations social protections and labor::employment and unemployment social protections and labor::labor markets sdg 8 decent work and economic growth environment::green issues task-based approach


Mosomi, Jacqueline, Cunningham, Wendy

“ Mosomi, Jacqueline ; Cunningham, Wendy . 2024 . Profiling Green Jobs and Workers in South Africa: An Occupational Tasks Approach . Policy Research Working Paper; 10779 . © Washington, DC: World Bank . License: CC BY 3.0 IGO . ”
Policy Research Working Papers
Identifier externaldocumentum
Identifier internaldocumentum
Published in
United States of America
Region country
South Africa
Policy Research Working Paper; 10779
Rights Holder
World Bank
Rights URI
HD - Africa 1 Director (HAEDR)
date disclosure
region administrative
Africa Eastern and Southern (AFE)


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