Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Green Hiring Boom: Totaljobs reveals green hiring grows six-fold in four years

As the climate crisis and net zero targets continue to drive debate, the latest Hiring Trends Index report, a quarterly survey of 1,011 HR decision makers from Totaljobs reveals that there is more demand for green skills in the UK economy than ever before.

  • Totaljobs’ latest Hiring Trends Index finds over 1 in 5 (23%) companies are increasing the number of green roles within their business – and increase of 677% in four years.
  • 4 in 10 UK businesses (40%) are set to either increase or continue providing opportunities and training for green focused roles.
  • 84% of businesses say they are reaping the benefits of sustainability initiatives, with 40% saying they seen an improvement to financial performance.
  • Despite an overall slowdown in hiring, the demand for green roles continues to increase (87% between 2019 and 2023). 
  • The average time to hire in the UK increased from 5.8 weeks in Q2 to 6.1 weeks in Q3 but it’s shorter than the beginning of the year (6.4 weeks).  

As the climate crisis and net zero targets continue to drive debate, the latest Hiring Trends Index report, a quarterly survey of 1,011 HR decision makers from Totaljobs reveals that there is more demand for green skills in the UK economy than ever before.

Totaljobs’ own recruitment data shows that since 2019, there has been an 677% increase in top sustainability-related roles, such as sustainability manager, engineer, or consultant. 

In addition, Totaljobs has found that job descriptions across different industries use phrases related to sustainability 80% more than on average. The most common phrases included in job descriptions are climate change, green, corporate social responsibility, sustainability, carbon footprint, carbon neutral, environmental and sustainable.  To meet this demand, over 1 in 5 (23%) businesses say they are actively increasing the number of ‘green roles’ within their business. This figure goes up to over 2 in 5 (43%) for large businesses. However, when it comes to green skills, less than 1 in 5 (17%) businesses currently offer training.

Eco-engaged employees

The majority (82%) of employees want their employer to address climate change, with Millennials (ages 27 to 42) being significantly more eco-conscious than other generations – followed by Gen Z (ages 11 to 26). 

A staggering 61% of Millennials say if a business produced products that were harmful to the environment, they would not apply for a role within that company. Similarly, almost half of (47%) this age group say they specifically look for opportunities with sustainable employers. 

The research shows that sustainability is an expectation for workers of all ages. An overwhelming majority (90%) of employees believe their employer has a responsibility to help the environment and would welcome sustainability-related restrictions (such as carrying out business trips only by train, printing quotas, etc.) 

It would appear that employees are becoming more vocal to their employers, with 1 in 3 (36%) businesses stating that they have been receiving feedback from employees when it comes to increasing efforts in addressing climate change. 

What’s more, working for a sustainable business can be a key motivator for employees, and 4 in 5 candidates say they would have a higher job satisfaction working for a sustainable employer.  

Many businesses have already made strides in this area, with more than half (58%) either having a sustainability framework in place or are currently in the process of implementing one.

Hiring Trends

Despite some difficulties within the labour market, overall business confidence remains healthy. The majority (59%) of employers still feel confident about recruiting the people they need. The industries most likely to have increased recruitment this quarter were:  transportation and distribution (43%), construction (43%), medical and health services (40%) and retail (40%). This is despite the average time to hire in Q3 having risen to 6.1 weeks, up from 5.8 weeks in Q2.

There is opportunity for employers who have sustainability initiatives to attract talent by communicating their efforts as part of their employer branding. Over half (54%) of candidates currently report difficulties learning about the sustainability of companies.

Julius Probst, European labour market Economist at Totaljobs said: ‘‘Environmental policy is a roadmap for businesses and investors looking to embrace sustainability. Therefore, the prime minister’s recent announcements on net-zero targets and policy changes might impact upcoming business decisions. However, despite this, it's evident that the UK's low carbon and renewable energy sector will sustain its growth, making sustainability a pivotal aspect for attracting talent.

Not only is there a wider societal and environmental need to go green, but it could help attract and retain talent as candidates become more aware of ESG importance. For employers facing difficulties in sourcing talent within competitive timelines, showcasing your sustainability initiatives isn't just a tool to enhance your employer branding; it's a compelling incentive for candidates to seriously consider your organisation."