In a Nutshell: Issue 112

The transition to net zero carbon emissions is expected to create new types of ‘green jobs’. This paper finds that these jobs are likely to offer high quality work for those that land them, but targeted recruitment will be needed to ensure that some groups aren’t under-represented.

Type of green job Description % of UK jobs in 2019
Green new and emerging (GNE): Wind energy engineers or solar photovoltaic installers, for whom all tasks are ‘green’. 5%
Green enhanced skills (GES): Jobs with altered tasks, skills and knowledge requirements. Example a construction labourer who would need to apply weather stripping to reduce energy loss. 7%
Green increased demand (GID): Existing jobs with higher demand. Such jobs are considered indirectly green because they support green economic activity but do not involve any green tasks. Examples: chemists, materials scientists, industrial production managers. 5%

Using a broader definition, it finds that around 17% of jobs in the UK can be considered green. This is much higher than previous estimates.

What industries are green jobs in?

The research finds large numbers of green jobs in energy and water, construction, and manufacturing. Hotels and restaurants have low numbers of green jobs.

The mix of green jobs across industries also affects where these jobs are geographically. The distribution of green jobs depends on the type of green job according to the classification above:

  • Enhanced skills jobs are more prevalent across Wales, the Midlands and the South East.
  • New and emerging jobs have some concentration in the South of England.
  • Increased demand jobs stretch from the Midlands to Northern England, and Northern Ireland.

Are green jobs good jobs?

In a word, yes. People in new and emerging jobs are particularly likely to be educated to a higher level and be on permanent contracts. For the UK, the research finds that greener jobs tend to pay higher wages, and are less likely to be automated. However jobs in the ‘indirectly green’ category tend to be similar to nongreen jobs in terms of skills, pay, and likelihood of automation.

Does everyone have access to these jobs?

Unfortunately, not. The research finds that women and young people are underrepresented in these jobs. The authors of the report think this underrepresentation needs addressing. They suggest targeted recruitment policies or information campaigns will be needed for specific sectors, locations or demographic groups.

What next?

We are going to see more research on the transition to net zero and the increase in green jobs. This research makes us think wider about what green jobs are and suggests that the transition to net zero will affect a much wider range of industries and occupations than we previously considered.

Read the full article.

Jon Boys

Reviewed by:

Jon Boys, Labour Market Economist

Jon joined the CIPD in January 2019 as an Economist. He is an experienced labour market analyst with expertise in pay and conditions, education and skills, and productivity.

Jon primarily uses quantitative techniques to uncover insights in labour market data, both publicly available and generated through in house surveying. Jon regularly contributes commentary and analysis of economic issues on the world of work to online, print and TV media. Recent work includes the creation of an international ranking of work quality, analysis of firm level gender pay gap reporting data, and an ongoing programme of work looking at the changing age profile of the UK workforce. 

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