Research Outline

Number of Professionals


To determine the number of professionals that are employed in the following areas/industries, globally: (1) climate change, (2) the UN SDG 17, (3) social impact, and (4) academia.

Early Findings

Information Availability

There appears to be limited information regarding the global number of professionals that are employed in each of the stated areas/industries. However, there are a number of complimenting facts and statistics from which we can develop a close estimate for some of the required statistics. Such facts are presented below:

Number of Professionals: Climate Change

  • In a separate report published by G&A Institute, about 90 percent of companies in the S&P 500 Index publish sustainability reports, indicating that they are at least concerned about tracking their environmental impact and dedicate some amount of manpower to the task.
  • According to a recent International Labor Organization (ILO) report on climate change, a total of 24 million new jobs relating to climate change and environmental sustainability will be created by 2030.
  • The report further stated that 18 million of those jobs would be directly attributable to achieving sustainability in the energy sector, while the remaining 6 million jobs will result from embracing sustainability practices in the general economy, such as remanufacturing and repair jobs.
  • In a separate report, the ILO estimates that about 0.2 percent of the working population in Europe, representing 500,000 workers, will be directly and indirectly involved in transforming and adapting the continent to green practices by 2050.

Number of Workers: Academia

  • According to a recent report by UNESCO, there were 94 million teachers globally in 2019. The total sum of 94 million includes primary, secondary, and tertiary school teachers. The report further added that a total of 67 million more teachers are required to achieve universal primary and secondary education by 2030.
  • In the US alone, the entire educational industry employs over 12.5 million workers.
  • Focusing on higher education alone, UK universities employ a total of 217,000 academic staff and 223,000 non-academic staff. According to the latest available report from Eurostat, there were 1.35 million people teaching in tertiary institutions across the EU-27 in 2018.
  • In the US, a total of 3,602,258 professionals are employed in the country's higher institutions. Of this figure, 1,573,653 individuals are academic staff, while 2,028,605 individuals are non-academic staff.

Summary of Findings

  • In the initial hour of research, the research team was able to identify valuable facts and statistics from which close estimates can be derived. For example, the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that 24 million jobs relating to climate change will be created globally by 2030, and 0.2 percent of all jobs in Europe will be dedicated to achieving sustainability initiatives in the country by 2050. Also, in the US, 90 percent of companies in the S&P 500 actively dedicate professional resources towards tracking their environmental impact.
  • In academia, the research team was able to determine the total number of teaching staff globally, as well as the number of teaching professionals employed at the higher educational level in the UK, US, and Europe.
  • Information on the number of professionals who work in "social impact" areas is scarce. This is due to the fact that although the term "social impact" may involve a lot of job areas, it does not refer to any particular profession. This situation also reappears when trying to determine the number of professionals in UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related fields, as that particular area cuts across several professions.
  • So far, apart from academia, only climate change has evolved into a measurable field of practice. The fields of "social impact" and "UN SDG 17" are yet to develop into active professional industries and still rely on the expertise of individuals who work in other industries, such as energy, economics, water, climate, ocean, urbanization, and transport. Therefore, the research team has concluded that information on both areas (social impact and UN SDG 17) may be difficult to determine.