Business news

Green jobs in Northern Ireland remain slightly more resilient in a cooling labour market

Posted By:
PricewaterhouseCoopers Llp (PwC)

11th Dec 2023

The number of green jobs advertised in Northern Ireland has seen a small increase year on year and now accounts for a higher proportion of all job adverts in the region – even as the wider jobs market cools.

PwC UK’s latest Green Jobs Barometer shows that in Northern Ireland, green jobs as a proportion of all job adverts increased from 1.9% in 2022 to 2.4%, and is now higher than the UK average of 2.3%.

The research also shows that Northern Ireland is one of only two areas to have seen an increase in green job adverts from 2022 into 2023, albeit a small increase at 1.7%.

First launched in November 2021, the PwC UK Green Jobs Barometer tracks movements in green job creation, job loss, carbon intensity of employment, and worker sentiment across economic regions and sectors. In 2022, Northern Ireland was ranked bottom of the Barometer, but its comparative strong performance in green job creation this year has moved up seven places to rank fifth overall.

Northern Ireland saw an increase in the number of green job adverts in the information and communication (63.1%), financial and insurance activities (50%) and professional, scientific and technical activities (20.2%) sectors. This growth was partially offset however by reductions in other sectors including accommodation and food services (-77.8%) and manufacturing (-54%).

Jason Calvert, director at PwC Northern Ireland, said:

“It’s encouraging to see green job creation in Northern Ireland showing resilience. The focus now needs to be on creating solutions for businesses in Northern Ireland to help ensure that our economy can capitalise on the opportunities of the net zero transition.

“The path forward will require a concerted effort by both employers and policy-makers. Employers need to be looking closely at jobs that may disappear, new jobs that may be created, and considering how they can equip existing employees with the right skills to make the transition between jobs. Policy makers need to be empowered to innovate and take risks in the development of novel approaches in the policy domains that will support this transition. These include incentivising higher education in fields that will support the net zero transition, creating better conditions to retain new graduates in the region, and improving the business environment for attracting further inward investment.

Across the UK

PwC UK’s Green Jobs Barometer shows that across the UK, the number of green jobs advertised has fallen from the record levels recorded in 2022, albeit at a smaller rate than the decline seen in the UK’s job market overall.

High interest rates and a challenging economic backdrop have seen the number of total advertised roles fall by 29%, while the number of green jobs fell by 26%. This degree of resilience of green jobs has seen their share of the UK labour market increase to 2.3% (up from 2.2% in 2022 and 1.9% in 2021). However, when accounting for the number of green jobs required across the economy to power the UK’s transition to net zero by 2050, this deceleration in overall demand, in the face of a cooling labour market, poses a potential challenge.

Scotland is the best performing of all the regions and nations in the UK and leads in green job creation, with 4.04% of all jobs advertised considered as green (up from 3.3% last year), compared with 2.32% for the UK as a whole. Despite London advertising for over 10,000 fewer green jobs than last year, the capital maintained its considerable lead over the other regions by number of jobs, seeking to fill a total of 45,219 roles and enjoying the second highest regional increase in the proportion of green jobs to other jobs. London and the South East show the largest absolute number of vacancies, accounting for 33% of all new green job postings in the UK.

At the other end of the spectrum, five of the 12 UK regions and nations (South East, East Midlands, Wales, North East, East of England) fare worse than the national trend – and see the number of green jobs advertised fall at a greater rate than the fall in all jobs advertised in their region. Collectively, this suggests that the opportunities of the transition to net zero are increasingly concentrated in certain regions.