Number of UK sustainability professionals climbs by 12%, according to LinkedIn

The fastest-growing core skill listed by sustainability professionals globally is data analysis

To mark Earth Day, LinkedIn analysed data from its 675 million members to identify job markets trends as more businesses align practices to mitigate climate change impacts and improve sustainability.

LinkedIn named the UK as a hotspot for sustainability jobs, with London ranking 6th out of cities for its concentration of sustainability professionals. The UK recorded a growth in 12% of sustainability professionals using the platform last year, higher than the global average of 7.5%.

According to the data, green job postings rose by 32% in the UK last year.

“Climate change remains a defining issue of our time and while COVID-19 is all-encompassing at this moment, it’s reassuring to see that the UK is well placed to lead on sustainability with the world-class talent to take us forward,” LinkedIn’s UK country manager Josh Graff said.

“As the UK increases its focus on lowering emissions and with an ambition to hit climate neutrality by 2050, we have seen a rise in the number of people pursuing green careers. With the breadth of sustainability roles and skills available, it’s encouraging to see an increasing number of businesses and professionals looking to make a positive difference to people, society and the planet.”

London is ranked behind Stockholm, Helsinki, Amsterdam, Zurich and Vancouver in terms of concentration of sustainability professionals. Europe has recorded a 13% year-on-year increase in the number of sustainability professionals, according to LinkedIn.

The fastest-growing core skill listed by sustainability professionals globally is data analysis, with a year-on-year growth of 18%. Circular economy and environmental monitoring have also emerged as key listings.

The sustainability professionals are spread across 10 key industries, namely environmental services, renewables, civil engineering, utilities and research.

Commenting on the findings, Rebecca Marmot, chief sustainability officer at Unilever, added: “The challenges the world faces like inequality and climate are increasingly visible across the world. A career in sustainability gives you the opportunity to tackle these issues by making business a force for good. Having a clear purpose is a key motivator for many which is one of the reasons Unilever is the number 1 employer of choice in 51 countries amongst students.”

Green job growth

According to the REA, the UK Government can deliver an 85% increase in renewable and clean technology jobs in a decade by implementing better taxation systems and outlining a roadmap for net-zero emissions.

The group found that the renewable energy sector was estimated to be worth £18.8bn during the timeframe, which in turn delivered an increase of 1,844 jobs and £867m in market value since 2016. However, this growth mask “significant falls” in the solar PV sector due to the closure of support mechanisms such as the Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs). If policy cuts to green legislation had not occurred in 2016, the REA estimates that an additional 14,700 jobs and £3.44bn in investment may have been generated.

The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) states that employment in the UK’s low-carbon and renewable energy economy was equivalent to 224,800 full-time jobs in 2018, up from 200,800 in 2015.

But previous figures from the ONS claimed that there were 235,900 full-time jobs in the sector in 2014, meaning that there has, overall, been a slight decrease in employment in the sector over the past six years.

Matt Mace

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