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With the current instability in financial markets, negative jobs reports and general disarray in the marketplace, your mission now is bigger than just saving the environment. You need to get a job with great pay and inject some life back into the economy. But you will want to spend your big paycheck buying green products or services -- probably fewer in number but of better quality -- which will pay the higher wages of the people working the green jobs that supply your demands. A self-reinforcing cycle breaking away from the old debt-and-disposables economy and into a new, value-oriented green economy is just what Wall Street and Main Street need.
Are you up to earning that big paycheck? Then read on to see what you can learn from a roundup of TreeHugger leads on the highest paying green jobs. #1. Venture capitalist
If you are willing to take the risk, this is where the money is. You could rake in $300,000-$400,000 as a venture capitalist in green. Venture capital for algae biofuels, smart grid start-ups and thin film firms is leading the way to record investments in green technology. But as has been said about horse racing, the way to make a lot of money in venture capitalism is to start out with really, really a lot of money.
#2. The corner office
Probably, the highest salary in any company is CEO. The average annual income of chief executives is $330,048, but anyone who reads the media knows that with bonuses and benefits, CEO packages can be in the millions. The best way to get the CEO job is to start your own company; with the growth of green, there is probably a niche you could fill. Lots of CEOs of green companies have been featured sharing their vision with TreeHugger readers. Check out their stories for inspiration if you are aiming high:
Dan Siegel of EVO
Juliet Davenport of Good Energy
Dale Vine of Ecotricity
Jeremy Leggett of Solarcentury
Gerry Cooklin of South Cone
Wolf Luedge of Hessnatur
#3. The coveted number two spot
Does an average VP salary of $195,336 pique your interest? New titles like Vice President of Sustainability or VP Eco-responsibility pop up often now. Companies that are committed to sustainability know that having good talent at the helm makes all the difference.
There are basically two ways to get this job. You could prove yourself the hard way by steering a business division through the currents of competition and free market strategy, following the beacon of your green lighthouse. Then use the trust you have gained to convince the powers that be the company desperately needs a department of sustainability — with you at its head, naturally!
Alternatively, make a reputation for yourself in the sustainability field. Then wait until a big company messes up so badly they need to call in big guns to "make things right." Ride in on your white steed, and heroically lead the company to greener pastures.