Green Skills Shortage Imminent, Say More Than Two Thirds of UK Business Leaders

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Businesses are being urged to consider “green work” as a critical career move, according to Joanna Bonnett, head of sustainability at PageGroup. A poll of 2,000 employed adults showed that 27% are considering a green job as their next career move, with almost half of those (47%) considering work in the renewable energy sector. However, nearly half of those considering a green job do not believe they have the necessary skills to do so.

A separate poll of 500 decision makers found that 57% of them think specialized green skills are important to their business, but many are struggling to find skilled staff, particularly in areas of sustainable engineering and finance. To address the skills gap, over one in four (27%) are actively identifying opportunities and anticipating future business needs, while 26% are investing in professional training to upskill their existing workforce. Another 23% are offering more on-the-job training and apprenticeships.

Additionally, 55% of decision makers believe it is important that new staff demonstrate their consciousness about climate change, with 31% claiming that it is a priority to invest in staff to prepare them for the green future.

To ensure the UK succeeds in its green transition efforts, it is crucial for policy makers, businesses, and educational organisations to collaborate and invest in properly preparing the workforce. Doing so will create a pipeline of talent that is ready for the jobs of the future and tackle the green skills shortage, which, if not addressed, could drastically slow down net zero efforts.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) of workers started exploring green opportunities in just the last two years. The poll of workers showed that 34% claim witnessing the negative impacts on the environment is their primary reason for considering green work, while a third (33%) were motivated after watching documentaries about climate change, and 32% were aware that the job market is changing and want to adapt to the times.

The research was commissioned by Michael Page, a global recruitment firm and part of FTSE 250 PageGroup. Furthermore, 43% of businesses remain committed to working towards their sustainability goals despite the rising costs of living. These businesses have committed to reaching an average of five targets, with 40% citing long-term cost savings benefits as the driving force behind implementing these goals. While a third (33%) see it as an opportunity to future-proof their business.

With one in five companies currently recruiting for green positions, it is clear they recognise the significance of the green transition and the benefits it brings to their business and workforce, added Joanna Bonnett from PageGroup.

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