Global accountants PwC calculate that Britain’s creation of green jobs is running at four times the creation rate for other vacancies.
The consultancy firm’s “Green Jobs Barometer 2022”, its second annual survey of the sector, tracked ads for roles in clean energy, environmental services or the circular economy. Nationally, the study sees them as up threefold on last year.
The 336,000 UK environmental vacancies counted by PWC in 2022 still equate to only 2.2% of all new vacancies. But it is the trebling of that figure in only twelve months which convinces the firm’s researchers to see a sustained greening of the UK labour market.
Comparing this year with last, every UK region saw green employment meeting a greater share of the job market. Even in regions with high environmental employment, the number of green jobs at least doubled in absolute terms.
Regional imbalances abound, though. Around one in three of new environmental vacancies are London-based, predominantly in scientific or professional roles such as engineering.
By volume of jobs, the South East is pulling away from the rest of the country. Just 7,594 unique green job ads were for roles in the North East in 2022, compared to 110,067 located across London and the South East.
Second only to London, Scotland takes another big geographical slice of ‘green collar’ employment, thanks to devolved Holyrood’s decades in promoting clean energy technologies such as wind.
Skills gaps are emerging too, PWC believes, notably in terms of expertise shortages amid hard-to-fill posts among the technical practitioners needed drive Britain further towards Net Zero.
Employment figures released by the Office of National Statistics this morning across the entire economy saw a fall in all job vacancies for the fifth quarter in a row, to 1.187 million.
They came after unemployment rose in October, now standing at 3.7% of the job-seeking population.
Pay rates aside, 149,000 jobs reported by the ONS as destroyed over the last twelve months in sectors such as retail, wholesaling & automotive repair have been balanced out by over half a million new posts in health and social care, in professional, scientific & white collar activities and in communications and IT.
PwC UK’s head of regions Carl Sizer commented: “The huge growth in green jobs over the last year illustrates how we are creating a Green Britain. If we want to meet our Net Zero ambitions while driving growth, then the green economy needs to be nationwide.
“This year’s Barometer shows that many green jobs are in professional and scientific roles, while there is an ever-growing gap in new green trades jobs which are equally vital to Net Zero plans.
Professional training and re-training remain essential, said Sizer.
“This is not just a story of job creation, but one that also highlights the critical requirement to prepare the UK workforce for the jobs that will realise the country’s ambitions. This will need significant investment – for example, our data shows that between 10,000 and 66,000 new tradespeople will be needed each year to retrofit the 29 million homes with low EPC ratings.”