The next Government must commit to delivering the Green Jobs Plan – that was due to be published in a matter of weeks – says the Institute of Environmental Management & Assessment (IEMA).

After more than three years of development with industry, trade unions and skills sector participants – with a Green Jobs Taskforce followed by Green Jobs Delivery Group – the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero has been forced to place on-hold plans to publish in June due to the election.

Sarah Mukherjee, CEO for IEMA, which represents almost 22,000 environment and sustainability professionals, said delivery of the Green Jobs Plan was IEMA’s #1 Policy Ask because ‘green skills’ fundamentally underpinned the UK’s transition to a cleaner economy.

Sarah Mukherjee, IEMA CEO, said: “Green jobs in the UK are growing nearly four times faster than overall UK employment.

“But there is a green skills gap looming, with demand for green skills growing nearly twice as fast as the growth in green talent.

“The Green Jobs Plan was to provide sector by sector analysis, detailing where investment in green jobs and skills was most needed to grow the economy, improve productivity and tackle net zero.

“If unaddressed, the green skills shortage will compromise efforts to achieve legally-binding carbon and environmental targets. Taking action now will also mean that workers currently employed in the fossil fuels sector can transition into clean energy roles.”

IEMA’s Key Policy Asks include:

  • Delivery of a Green Jobs Plan that sets out how investment in green jobs and skills will be channelled across different economic sectors.
  • The establishment of a permanent cross-government body – such as a Green Jobs Council – to ensure we have the skilled workforce needed to deliver our vital climate and environmental goals.
  • The urgent need to design and implement a robust plan to protect 30% of the land and of the sea for nature’s recovery, by 2030 (30by30).
  • Development of a national circular strategy to ensure materials and products needed for our transition to a net zero economy are reused, remanufactured and recycled.
  • Development of a clear investment and deployment roadmap for onshore wind as recommended by the Skidmore Review, and the establishment of a speedier regime for good projects to connect to the grid.
  • Creation of a National Environmental Assessment Unit to ensure planning reforms earmarked to revoke conventional Environment Impact Assessments do not risk delivering worse outcomes for people and the natural environment. While mandating the use of competent experts and ensuring more meaningful public participation in the planning system.

Sarah Mukherjee, IEMA CEO, continued: “Meeting our climate and environmental targets is an economy-wide challenge. It is increasingly a necessity that all job roles help contribute to delivering greener outcomes – not only sustainability professionals.

“The most successful businesses in the coming decades will weave green skills into their workforces much in the way digital skills spread over previous decades.

“A cross-government body, like a Green Jobs Council, can take the lead with a strategic approach to delivering the Green Jobs Plan and driving growth in green skills across the economy that is tied to our long-term climate and environmental goals.”

The Green Jobs Plan

Developed over 3.5 years, with a Green Jobs Taskforce (report HERE) and Green Jobs Delivery Group – comprising industry, trade unions and the skills sector, the Green Jobs Plan was set to provide:

  • Sector by sector analysis, allowing specific targeting of the green skills needed to deliver a future pipeline of talent for the net zero economy.
  • Support the creation of up to 725,000 new low carbon jobs by 2030.
  • Recognition that Green Jobs are growing nearly 4x faster than overall UK employment.
  • Support for workers in high carbon sectors to transition to low carbon roles.

Key Stats:

  • There is a legal requirement for the UK to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Across the UK there are also wider environmental targets that each devolved administration must deliver. In England this includes halting the decline in species populations by 2030 and increasing tree and woodland cover to 16.5% of total land area by 2050.
  • Demand for green skills globally is growing nearly twice as fast as the growth in green talent – so a global green skills gap is looming – which will have implications for whoever wins the General Election.
    • Jobs requiring green skills now make up over 30% of UK job listings (Linkedin).
    • Green jobs listings worldwide requiring at least one “green skill” grew nearly twice as fast (22.4% between 2022 & 2023 on Linkedin) as the growth in green talent in the workforce (12.3%).

Read IEMA's key recommendations here.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.