Scottish Power's HRD on the UK's green skills outlook

There is no denying that creating and maintaining green jobs is essential to a successful energy transition. However, the scale of the task facing businesses is no small feat...
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Scottish Power's HRD on the UK's green skills outlook
Sarah McNult has been with ScottishPower for over 18 years

The following insight was provided by Sarah McNulty, ScottishPower’s Director of Human Resources. 

There is no denying that creating and maintaining green jobs is essential to a successful energy transition. However, the scale of the task facing businesses is no small feat.

Not only will it require more talent equipped with diverse skillsets to help plug skills gaps, but businesses will need to make a concerted effort to upskill their current people.This is reflected in the Green Skills Outlook, a new piece of research released today, conducted by Iberdrola in partnership with The Economist.

So far, the energy sector has led the way when it comes to driving the creation of green jobs. This may be unsurprising, considering we are at the forefront of the energy transition and the race to net zero, but it is position we are very proud of.

So far, the energy sector has led the way when it comes to driving the creation of green jobs

Last year, we announced an ambitious goal to fill over 1000 new jobs creating a green army fit for the future. Just this week, we have confirmed a £5.4bn tender process to expand our transmission lines, which will bring hundreds of new jobs and opportunities in our business and beyond. We are constantly striving as business for our people and for our customers when it comes to innovating and moving forward to a better future quicker.

But we can’t do this alone.

Creating jobs of the future can only be achieved through collaboration across industries and sectors. The research released today shows that the UK’s green transition could be at risk if skills programmes are not ramped up across the board. Even though most business leaders agree that green skills will be a crucial driver of the green transition, only half of them are doing anything about it.

We must do better and more. By working with others in the private sector, policymakers, and educational institutions, we can close the green skills gap and create an environment where green skills are fully integrated into career development, futureproofing our workforces.

The time to act is now, and the stakes are higher than ever.

The transition will create 100m “green jobs” by the end of the decade

Findings from the Green Skills Outlook report

"People—and the skills they bring—are the key to making the most of the transition to a greener economy. Those countries, sectors and regions that can support workers in gaining new skills will be at the forefront of the transition," notes Ignacio Galán Executive Chairman, Iberdrola - who conducted the report.

We must do better and more. By working with others in the private sector, policymakers, and educational institutions, we can close the green skills gap and create an environment where green skills are fully integrated into career development, futureproofing our workforces

"The International Labour Organization estimates that the transition will create 100m “green jobs” by the end of the decade. Engineers, offshore and onshore construction workers, electricians and battery chemists are just some of the professions poised for a surge in demand," he adds.

  • The report states that the green transition is threatened by business leaders’ failure to develop and source green skills. Although respondents to the research were near-unanimous in affirming that green skills are (or will soon be) important to their businesses’ operations and objectives, only 55% are currently implementing (or planning to implement) green skills programmes among their existing workforce.

    This leaves a large fraction of the workforce without crucial skills training, which risks obstructing progress in the green transition. The yawning skills gap is borne out in LinkedIn’s data on US “green job” postings. Those postings were up by 20% in 2022, but were matched by only an 8.4% increase in available green talent. Such shortages are having an impact: 62% of respondents to the research agreed that shortages in green skills are going to create bottlenecks that slow down the green transition.

  • The majority (nearly 80%) of respondents agreed that the green transition presents more opportunities than challenges for their organisation — with just five per cent disagreeing.

    Business leaders across all regions in the survey were largely optimistic; however, their views were somewhat more cautious in Europe. This likely reflects the more advanced stage of Europe’s green transition, including changes in the energy mix and the move towards a more service-based economy, where the challenges ahead may be more evident.

    For example, whereas the British and French economies produce just 0.1 and 0.082 tonnes of carbon per dollar of GDP (by purchasing power parity, PPP), respectively, the Brazilian economy produces 0.13 tonnes and China more than 0.45.3.

  • 73% believe that the green transition will create more jobs than it eliminates, and 81% agree that it will result in the creation of higher-quality jobs. For example, the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that the green transition could result in the net creation of jobs in the energy sector by 2030.


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