EIB poll finds lack of skilled workers hindering green economy
A recent poll by the European Investment Bank (EIB) has revealed that investment in the green economy is being impeded by a shortage of skilled labour, particularly in engineering and digital sectors.
According to the poll, which surveyed over 12,500 businesses and 685 authorities, four out of five companies and 60% of local authorities reported that a lack of skilled workers was preventing them from undertaking green projects.
The need to transition to a green economy has become increasingly urgent as the threat of climate change looms. However, despite the fact that workers worldwide are acquiring green skills and taking up green jobs, there is still a significant gap between the skills we currently possess and the skills required to meet the EU’s ambitious climate targets and achieve a green transition.
The demand for green talent currently outstrips supply, with data from LinkedIn showing that job postings requiring green skills grew by 8% annually over the past five years, while the share of green talent grew by only 6% over the same period.
These findings support the recent EIB poll and suggest that we are missing out on both opportunities to help the planet become more sustainable and economic opportunities for workers.
The UK is experiencing similar challenges in generating green employment. Despite the fact that the number of green jobs in the UK reached a record high in 2021, data from the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) annual survey of the green economy raises some potential concerns for the future.
The ONS found no significant increase in the proportion of green jobs within total national employment. Moreover, the UK government is currently off track in delivering its flagship goal of hosting two million green jobs by 2030.
These findings from the ONS and EIB serve as a warning, as the US continues to expand its green investment. The EIB has found that investment in productive industries in Europe has lagged behind the US by 2% of gross domestic product over the past decade.
The Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, a $369bn package that includes extensive tax credits and subsidies designed to boost green industries, has raised concerns that the gap with the US could widen further. In response, France and Germany have called on Brussels to relax state aid rules, enabling member states to pump funds directly into industries.
EIB President Werner Hoyer has said that the EU does not need “large-scale subsidies”; rather, it needs to reform its “cumbersome administrative procedures.” “Bankers have a huge pipeline of green industrial projects, but our clients are waiting for permits stuck in bureaucracy,” Hoyer added.
Whilst the UK Corporate Leaders Group is calling on the government to develop a proper action plan for net-zero skills and jobs, setting out job creation figures with specific timescales and in specific sectors and regions, as well as plans for upskilling and reskilling people to fill those roles.