The latest Green Jobs Barometer by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) reveals a distinctive resilience in the demand for environmentally focused roles amidst a declining UK job market.

This annual report evaluates the progress of the UK’s regions, industries, and nations in nurturing green jobs, crucial for steering a fair transition towards achieving net-zero emissions.

Amidst economic uncertainty and heightened borrowing costs impacting the UK job market, the overall job listings have plunged by 29% from the previous year. In stark contrast, green job listings experienced a relatively moderate decrease of 26%, totalling 249,359 roles across the UK, a decline from 336,821 positions in the previous year. This resilience elevates the proportion of green jobs in the labour market to 2.3%, up from 2.2% in 2022 and 1.9% in 2021.

However, while the relative resilience of green roles is notable, the decrease in their total numbers across various regions and sectors poses concerns. The concentration of green job creation primarily in white-collar and skilled professions, along with its dominance in select regions, may jeopardise the equitable nature of this transition, potentially challenging the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

Scotland Leading in Green Job Creation

Scotland maintains its position as the top-performing region in the UK for the third consecutive year, accounting for 4.04% of all job vacancies as green roles. The region’s dominance in green job creation, especially in the utilities and energy sectors, remains a significant driver, representing 28.51% of all vacancies. Scotland’s thriving energy hub, particularly in the north-east, hosts a substantial pool of energy-related skills, fostering numerous green roles in construction, scientific, technical, and support activities.

London and the South East collectively showcase the largest absolute number of green job vacancies, encompassing 32.7% of all fresh postings. Despite London advertising over 10,000 fewer green jobs than the previous year, it continues to lead the pack with 45,219 roles. The South East follows with 33,917 vacancies, closely trailed by Scotland at 26,479 and the North West at 25,944.

The report notes that green jobs tend to offer higher-quality attributes, including better financial rewards and job satisfaction. However, they often demand longer working hours and are less likely to provide permanent contracts compared to non-green roles. Moreover, these positions typically require higher educational qualifications, contributing to potential barriers to access for certain communities and regions.

This educational disparity risks exacerbating regional inequality and may hinder an even distribution of the benefits derived from the net-zero transition across diverse communities and sectors.