UK Business Leaders Sound Alarm Over Potential Green Skills Shortage

A recent poll of 500 decision-makers found that 57% believe specialised green skills are important to their business, but many are struggling to find skilled staff, particularly in areas of sustainable engineering and finance. In response, more than 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.

A separate poll of 2,000 employed adults revealed that a quarter (27%) are considering a green job as their next career move, but many are unsure if they have the necessary skills. Nearly half of those considering a green job (47%) are interested in work in the renewable energy sector, while others see sustainable investment and construction as viable options. Among those considering the switch, 49% want a role that positively impacts the planet, while 36% want to future-proof their careers.

To ensure their skills are compatible with future green jobs, 28% of workers plan to undergo training related to their current specialism, and 26% are exploring online courses to achieve the necessary qualifications.

Joanna Bonnett, head of sustainability at PageGroup, believes that policy makers, businesses, and educational organisations must collaborate and invest in properly preparing the workforce to ensure the UK succeeds in its green transition efforts. She warns that the green skills shortage, if not addressed, could drastically slow down net zero efforts.

More than half (55%) of the decision-makers say it is important that new staff demonstrate their consciousness about climate change. Additionally, 31% claim that investing in staff to prepare them for the green future is a priority.

A poll of workers conducted by showed that 34% of workers claim witnessing the negative impacts on the environment as their primary reason for considering green work. One in three (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. Nearly three-quarters (73%) started exploring green opportunities in just the last two years.

Despite the rising cost of living, 43% of businesses remain committed to working toward their sustainability goals. 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. One in five companies are currently recruiting for green positions, recognising the significance of the green transition and the benefits it brings to their business and workforce, according to Joanna Bonnett from PageGroup.

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