New green jobs could worsen UK’s regional inequalities

Some parts of the country are already doing better than others in the push to create green jobs, potentially exacerbating regional inequalities, research has found.

Yorkshire and the Humber, Northern Ireland and Wales were the lowest ranking regions in a new jobs barometer created by PwC, which provides an analysis of the movements in green job creation, job loss and carbon intensity of employment.

Yorkshire’s greater dependency on high carbon industries results in a workforce whose per employee concentration of CO2 is almost double the best performing region on that metric, London.

Scotland and London were the top performers, with the former benefiting from having the greatest proportion of new green job creation thanks to a strong presence of energy and utilities roles in areas such as renewables.

Green jobs are defined by the accountancy firm as roles that seek to either produce or provide environmentally friendly products and services or those that adapt work processes to become less carbon intensive or use fewer natural resources.

Each new green job generates a further 1.4 jobs, rising to four jobs for sectors closely aligned to the energy transition, through increased demand for goods and services in the supply chain, PwC has found.

Around 5 per cent of workers surveyed feared that their role would disappear during the transition, which would equate to 1.7 million jobs. Regionally, the largest relative impact of job loss will be felt in Scotland and the East Midlands, while the smallest impact will be felt in Northern Ireland.

Carl Sizer, head of regions and ESG at PwC, said: “The impact of the net zero transition will be profound and there is a very real risk that people and communities could be left behind. The focus shouldn’t just be on the number of jobs at risk, but where they are concentrated, both in terms of industries and communities.”

“Green jobs must not become elite jobs,” he added. “With targeted policies, investment, and training, and collaboration between government, business and education providers, a green future can be a future of employment for everyone.”



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