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Deloitte and IEMA report focuses on developing green skills in the UK workforce

Deloitte and the professional organisation for environmental and sustainability professionals, IEMA, have launched a new report highlighting how businesses can increase the rate of developing green skills in the UK. According to the report, 75% of senior sustainability professionals believe that jobs require green or sustainability skills by 2050. The report highlights that sustainability professionals are increasingly more involved in significant discussions and strategic plans for a business.

Despite these findings, overall recognition of green jobs and green skills is relatively low among the public. Research by YouGov discovered that 56% of British consumers believe they have never heard of a ‘green job’ while 64% don’t understand the concept of ‘green skills’, and a further 62% don’t understand the difference between green skills and green jobs. The report also suggested that 65% of respondents don’t have access to green skills training through their employer.

Green awareness will inevitably grow in the coming years as the UK continues to pursue plans to deliver two million green industry jobs by 2030. Sarah Mukherjee, the CEO of IEMA, believes we must address the climate challenge now. Mukherjee believes that every job must be greener to tackle emissions and reach our net-zero by 2050 target. The latest IPCC report emphasised the urgency to act quickly. IEMA believes that we must support organisations to evaluate opportunities for their employees to participate in a green economy and determine the necessary steps to enable this transition. 

Matt Guest, the lead partner for the Deloitte Net Zero section, believes that every employee and business has a role to play in implementing climate action and ensuring we reach our net-zero goals. Senior leaders must act now to recognise what green skills an organisation needs, create a strategy for upskilling their staff in sustainability and ensure they have the necessary investment to generate change. Sustainability professionals are in high demand, so the businesses that take steps to invest in green skills will be the first to shift toward a green economy, creating new business opportunities and jobs.

A Deloitte survey of finance leaders from last year discovered that over 60% of UK finance leaders expected considerable changes in their business model and operations over the next decade due to the transition to net-zero. In the 2021 Millennial survey by Deloitte, climate change was a leading concern among millennials and Gen Zs in the UK.

More recently, Deloitte announced plans to expand and invest in the sustainability and climate section by creating a global network of client-focused services and data-driven research for the sustainability industry. Furthermore, the investment provided sustainability training opportunities to its employees, including a climate learning plan managed by its World Climate team that was responsible for commissioning the green skills report.

Deloitte believes it is the responsibility of business leaders to create a plan that can identify the green skills gap within their organisations and define a roadmap to train a diverse team of sustainability professionals capable of driving the UK toward a green economy.

Mukherjee highlights that approximately 80% of individuals in the workforce in 2030 are already working today. Education and Government support will be critical in developing a new era of sustainability-focused employees. Businesses face mounting pressure from employees, customers and investors to meet the skills challenge and deliver a workforce capable of supporting a long term green economy.

With a series of practical measures for businesses to use, case studies and a toolkit for leaders to adapt their workforce, the Deloitte and IEMA report delivers insights that enable organisations to accelerate the transition towards a green economy. The report focuses on the challenges businesses face when looking to upskill their staff and provides solutions to be better prepared for a green future. Using data from the ONS, LinkedIn and interviews with various businesses, the report assesses the current green jobs and skills environment and how this could develop in the future.

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