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Developing career resilience
Developing career resilience

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1.1 Climate change

There are different ways in which climate change might impact on the workplace, ranging from increasing temperatures affecting how comfortable or safe we are at work, to new emissions regulations impacting on key industries such as manufacturing and agriculture.

The Place-based Climate Action Network (PCAN) has recently developed a job tracking tool that estimates how UK employment will be affected by the transition to a green economy. Their research (Robins et al., 2019) has found that one in five workers, 6.3 million jobs in total, will be affected by the transition to a net-zero carbon economy in the UK, with around 3 million workers requiring upskilling and around 3 million finding themselves in high demand. They go on to estimate that while around 80% of existing jobs will not be significantly affected, few businesses will be untouched – needing to upskill their workers or hire new ones.

In Week 1, you considered the importance of personal development (i.e. learning new skills, gaining new knowledge) in enhancing your career resilience, and this will undoubtedly become a significant consideration for many as the climate crisis progresses.

Activity 2 Climate change and you

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Spend a few minutes reflecting on the potential impact of climate change on your own work life. Perhaps you’ve experienced difficulties on your daily commute due to flooding, or maybe your company has recently had to invest in some form of air conditioning to keep your working environment comfortable. Has the canteen stopped using single use plastics?

Wherever you are in the world, your government may have committed to reducing emissions by a certain date – what might be the impact of that on your employer? Could the tools or processes you use change?

Perhaps you’re considering a change of employer or career so you can focus on a greener way of working, or contribute to tackling climate change in a more pro-active way.

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Hopefully you will have listed a few things that have already changed in your workplace, or are about to. Being aware of these changes is helpful for your resilience as it allows you to plan and prepare more effectively for future eventualities.

This planning might be more focused on your personal resilience at this stage, but changes to the way you work or who you work for will be easier if your career resilience is strong. You’ll look at ways to enhance your career resilience later in the course.

No course on career resilience would be complete without some acknowledgement of COVID-19, and you’ll look at the impact of catastrophic events such as a global pandemic in the next section.

While the impact of climate change has escalated over a period of decades, there are other catastrophic events that occur much more suddenly and unexpectedly. You’ll consider those in the next section.