Green Jobs Barometer reveals regional inequalities and fall in opportunities

Published last week, the third annual report looks at the creation and loss of employment in environmental sectors, carbon intensity of employment and worker sentiment.

man in blue crew neck shirt standing in forest during daytime

Conducted by PwC, the research found a 26% drop in the number of job advertisements in ‘green’ industries. However, this was actually a smaller decline than the UK jobs market overall, which dropped by 29%, suggesting roles focused on the environment are proving more resilient to difficult economic circumstances. 

As a result, green jobs have increased in overall share of the labour market by 2.3%, after growing 2.2% in 2022 and 1.9% in 2021. Significant differences were found in terms of regional opportunities, too, with London and the South East continuing to dominate associated sectors. Scotland and Northern Ireland, meanwhile, were the only areas to see absolute increase in green job adverts. 

Scotland also came out on top in terms of overall job creation, with 4.04% of advertised positions considered to be green, gaining almost 1% on the previous year. By comparison, the capital actually lost 10,000 roles compared to 2022, but with 45,219 available jobs tied to the environment still enjoyed a considerable lead on other areas. South East England, the East Midlands, Wales, North East and the East of England all underperformed compared to the national trend, losing more green jobs compared to other positions. 

‘Green jobs are a good proxy for the greening of the economy. That green jobs account for a growing proportion of the jobs market is encouraging, but we need to see a significant increase in new green jobs to meet net zero goals. A drop in the number of advertised roles is concerning given the scale of what needs to be achieved,’ said Carl Sizer, Head of Regions and Platforms at PwC.

‘It’s more important than ever to ensure that the transition towards a low-carbon economy brings workers and communities with it,’ he continued. ‘Our research also points to the benefits of green jobs for workers, with better pay and job satisfaction, but highlights different sectors and regions that stand to be affected differently. Concerted effort will be needed to spread the benefits of green jobs and a green economy.’

Analysts have now flagged concerns that the combination of labour market cooling and rapidly rising demand for skills specific to net zero and the environment represent a major challenge for the British economy, although almost half of young people aged between 16 and 24 were found to be more interested in environmental work than enrolling at university. However, news that environmental roles are now rewarded with higher levels of pay than comparable positions in other fields suggests companies are doing more to attract more talent. 60% of occupations are now recording almost a one-quarter premium on average entry level wages.  Far more must also be done to attract and retain employees from Black, Asian and other minority backgrounds, which were found to be underrepresented. 

Image: Madalyn Cox


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