Disparities are already arising in how the transition to greener jobs is affecting different parts of the UK, research says


The transformation to a net zero economy is feeding through to the employment market, accounting for 1.2% of total advertised jobs, equating to 124,600 new jobs, for the year to July 2021.

However, disparities are already arising in how the transition to greener jobs is affecting different parts of the UK.

These findings come from PwC’s Green Jobs Barometer, described as a ‘first of its kind analysis’, tracking movements in green job creation, job loss, carbon intensity of employment, and worker sentiment across regions and sectors.

Kevin Ellis, Chairman and Senior Partner at PwC, commented: “Jobs are getting greener and this is cause for optimism, but evidence is needed on the level and distribution of these opportunities.

“Left unchecked, green employment will grow in the most fertile spots, but not necessarily where they’re needed most. Our research indicates where support and investment needs to be targeted.

“Green jobs in energy, utilities and manufacturing sectors have a greater knock-on effect on employment, generating further jobs.

“Likewise, regions including Northern Ireland and Wales may see a disproportionate rise in green energy and jobs, given their current reliance on carbon intensive fuels.

“By acting now, we have a massive opportunity to rebalance the economy and ensure a fair transition.”

Currently the proportion of new green jobs is small, but each new green job generates a further 1.4 jobs (rising to 6 jobs for the energy sector), through increased demand for goods and services in the supply chain.

According to PwC, this figure should also grow as the UK accelerates efforts to transition to net zero. Nevertheless, the scale-up will need to intensify to meet Government targets of two million green jobs by 2030.

Moreover, the creators of the Barometer further state, work is needed to ensure the green jobs transition doesn’t exacerbate regional inequalities. Yorkshire & the Humber, Northern Ireland and Wales are the lowest ranking regions across all aspects of the Green Jobs Barometer, while Scotland and London are the top performers.

The research highlights workers’ fears about the impact of the net zero transition, with 5% expecting their job will disappear during the transition, which would equate to 1.7 million jobs.

PwC’s analysis suggests this figure is likely higher than the eventual reality, as many jobs will be easily repurposed for a green economy, and will be easily surpassed by new green jobs – creating a Net Jobs gain.

Some sectors will clearly be impacted by job loss more than others. The sectors with the biggest share of sunset jobs are electricity, gas, utilities and waste. The latter provide support and advisory services, which can be more easily transitioned to other sectors.

Regionally, the largest relative impact of job loss will be felt in Scotland and the East Midlands, while the smallest relative impact will be felt in Northern Ireland (although it scores higher in other aspects of the Barometer).

The Green Jobs Barometer is available on the PwC UK website.