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Growth in green jobs market remains sluggish

The rate of green jobs creation is seriously behind government target levels.

Analysis by jobs search site Indeed indicated that green jobs will need to be created at approximately 25 times the current pace if the UK is to meet the government’s target by the end of the decade.

The share of green job vacancies on the platform rose by 13% between January 2016 and October 2021, but still remained low, with only 0.2% of postings classified as green jobs.

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Jack Kennedy, UK economist at Indeed, said: “There’s near unanimous agreement on the need to stimulate the green economy, but our data suggests it has not yet translated into the hoped-for surge in green job creation.

“The government has announced several initiatives to enable the UK to transition to net zero, but with many of the most in-demand green jobs being specialist positions, policymakers will also need to consider training programmes to help workers gain the necessary skills.”

Approximately 0.12% of all UK jobs were labelled as ‘green’ in 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics. 

Narrowed down to jobs focused on reducing carbon emissions or producing renewable electricity, that figure shrinks to just 0.6%, at 200,500 jobs.

While the overall numbers of green jobs are growing, ONS figures suggest that job figures in carbon reduction and renewable energy remained stable from 2015-2019. 

A government spokesperson, however, defended the progress made since the ‘10 Point Plan to a Green Industrial Revolution' was unveiled in November 2020.

They said: “Since we launched the plan, 56,000 green jobs have been created and supported in the UK’s green industries.

“Building on these foundations, the plans set out in our Net Zero Strategy and Heat and Buildings Strategy will deliver the skilled workforce we need, as we accelerate our progress towards net-zero, while supporting the creation and safeguarding of up to 440,000 jobs in 2030 across the UK."

Just 1% of Kickstart scheme jobs were in the ‘green’ economy, according to the Environmental Audit Committee’s Green Jobs Report, published 21 October.

The report, was cautiously optimistic that targets can be met if adequate training is supplied.

It said: “The level of government ambition and the work carried out by the Green Jobs Taskforce provides a good foundation for delivering this green workforce. 

“What is needed now is a detailed plan for how these ambitions will be delivered.”

The capacity for progress when government and private sector work together is huge, Neil Morrison, group HR director for Severn Trent told HR magazine. 

He said: “We’ve shown that where companies and government work together then we can absolutely create job opportunities in the green economy.

"The £565m investment that we are making in the green recovery will create 2,500 jobs in the West Midlands. This comes directly from plans such as investing in the improvement of 500km of rivers and creation of our team of river rangers, backed by the commitment of the government to support investment in lasting environmental improvements.”