What are circular jobs, and why are they important?

Jobs are a cornerstone to society, contributing to wellbeing and the distribution of wealth. They can lift people out of poverty and give a sense of purpose and fulfilment. Unemployment, on the contrary, is linked with poverty and  increased levels of mental health challenges and illness.

Recent estimates have highlighted the potential of the circular economy to generate net employment increases of about 700.000 jobs in Europe alone by 2030. This systemic shift will also change the type of work that will be done, how it is carried out and by whom.

What are circular jobs? 

Jobs in the circular economy are defined according to Circle Economy’s 7 key elements of the circular economy framework. This framework summarises the strategies that businesses and organisations can apply to make their production and operations more circular. The circular economy creates a wide variety of jobs in all its seven key elements. 


A circular job is any occupation that directly involves one of the elements of the circular economy or indirectly supports such activities.

A direct circular job includes jobs that follow core and enabling circular economy strategies.

An indirect circular job includes jobs that support the directly circular jobs.

Design for
the future

Adopt a systemic perspective during the design process, to employ the right materials for appropriate lifetime and extended future use.

The architect designs buildings to enable resource recovery after the building’s use phase and so designs for the future.

digital tecHnology

Track and optimise resource use and strengthen connections between supply-chain actors through digital, online platforms and technologies.

Building information managers maintain data on construction components so as to keep track of these physical assets. They understand how to integrate and interpret virtual information management systems.

SUSTAIN & preserve what’s already there

Track and optimise resource use and strengthen connections between supply-chain actors through digital, online platforms and technologies

Repair technicians repair appliances, machines or vehicles. They possess strong technical and manual skills which can be acquired through a formal and informal education and training.


Consider opportunities to create greater value and align incentives through business models that build on the interaction between products and services.

Demand planners oversee supply and demand to make refurbishment a profitable business model. This role requires logical thinking and reasoning.


Utilise waste streams as a source of secondary resources and recover waste for reuse and recycling.

Process operators sort waste for sellable products, for example to produce livestock feed made from waste flows. Although classed as practical-skill work, knowledge of the quality of incoming raw materials is crucial.


Ensure renewable, reusable, non-toxic resources are utilised as materials and energy in an efficient way.

Agronomic advisors support healthy soil nourishment with organic fertiliser from composted manure and crop remnants. They combine strong interpersonal skills with ecological knowledge.

Team up To create
join value

Work together throughout the supply chain, internally within the organisation and with the public sector to increase transparency and create shared value.

Procurement professionals stimulate the demand for secondary materials and discern and connect new suppliers in order to do so. This profile points to the need for entrepreneurial, interpersonal skills.

The Circular Jobs Initiative acknowledges and addresses the complexity of the world of work and takes a holistic approach to ensure a positive transition to circular economy for work and workers.