New green jobs could worsen UK regional inequalities

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Some parts of the country are already doing better than others in pushing to create green jobs, which could exacerbate regional inequalities, according to research.

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

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

Scotland and London were the best performing countries, with the former benefiting from having the highest share of new green job creation thanks to a strong presence of energy and utility roles in areas such as renewables.

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

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

About 5 percent of workers surveyed feared their role would disappear during the transition, which would equal 1.7 million jobs. Regionally, the greatest relative impact of job loss will be felt in Scotland and the East Midlands, while the least 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 will 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, investments and training, and collaboration between government, business and education providers, a green future can be a future of jobs for all.”

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