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Online postings for green jobs in London

To track the size and impact of London’s green economy, the GLA primarily draws from the Low Carbon Environmental Goods and Services Sector (LCEGS) dataset. Due to be updated in early 2023, the LCEGS data provides information on sales, employment, and businesses in three key areas: low carbon, renewable energy, and environmental services.

This blog explores the use of online job postings data from Lightcast (formerly Emsi Burning Glass) as another, partial indicator of the demand for green jobs and skills in London. While this data is not fully representative of the economy (green or otherwise), it does allow for relatively timely and granular analysis of labour market and skills demand.

Defining green jobs and skills

Lightcast has identified a range of green jobs and skills by analysing online job postings and using an open-source library of job titles and skills groups. Through this process, Lightcast has singled out 365 job titles with green keywords (e.g. renewable energy analysts or solar PV installers) and 112 specific green skills and qualifications.

These categories can help provide insights into the demand for green jobs and skills in London, but they do not offer a complete picture. Some green job titles and skills may not have been identified, while other jobs in green priority sectors will have titles which are not so obviously green.

It is important to note that the data and definitions used in this blog are only a partial representation of the demand for green jobs and skills in London.

Green job titles account for a small but growing share of online postings for jobs in London

In 2022, there were around 8,300 new online postings for jobs in London with green job titles – 17% of the UK total. The highest numbers of postings were for Sustainability Managers (860) and Consultants (770), Renewable Energy Analysts (510) and Environmental Managers (460).

The chart below shows a three-month moving average of postings with green job titles since 2015. These postings have increased significantly over the last two years, reaching a peak of over 780 in April 2022. While volumes have fallen back recently, the number of postings with green job titles is still roughly double its pre-pandemic level, signalling an increase in demand in this area.

Nevertheless, green job titles still make up a small proportion of total online job postings. According to the Lightcast definition and data, just over 0.4% of online postings for jobs in London had green job titles in 2022. In terms of volume, these postings were more common in London and the South East. However, the highest density can be found in the North West, where 0.5% of online job postings had green job titles last year.

A far higher share of online job postings feature specific green skills

The demand for green skills is not limited to jobs with green job titles, however. It can also be explored using Lightcast's list of green skills and qualifications. This approach suggests similar trends over recent years, but with a far higher level of demand for green-related skills: there were 54,400 online postings for jobs requiring green skills in 2022 - 2.7% of all London postings.

This figure is closer to estimates of the density of green job adverts from other sources, such as PwC’s Green Jobs Barometer. It is also worth noting that postings with green job titles accounted for a small proportion of total 'green skills' postings, suggesting that Lightcast's list of green job titles is only identifying a part of the green economy.

The chart below shows the green skills and qualifications in highest demand in London in 2022. Environment Health and Safety featured in around 8,400 or 0.4% of online job postings (including many project management or engineering roles). Green skills and qualifications related to Building Management Systems (5,800) and Development Management (4,600) were also prominent, while the number of postings featuring Built Environment and Waste Management skills has increased considerably since 2019.

Postings with green job titles require both specific green skills and cross-cutting skills

However, workers in green priority sectors will not only require green-specific skills. To illustrate this point, the chart below focuses again on the subset of online postings with green job titles. It shows the top skills and qualifications featured in these postings in 2022, focusing on jobs in London and excluding 'common' skills, such as management and communications.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) was the skill in highest demand in these postings last year. More broadly, postings with green job titles featured a mix of green-specific skills (e.g. Net Zero or Sustainability Strategies) and, more often, cross-cutting skills such as Auditing, Marketing or Data Analysis. This finding is consistent with recent GLA-commissioned research, which highlighted the importance of digital and STEM skills as part of meeting net zero goals.

Going forward, GLA Economics will continue to monitor and explore data on online postings with green job titles and green skills as part of our regular updates. Previous GLA research on green jobs and skills, including analysis of occupation affected by greening, can be found here.

Note: online job postings are not representative of all job roles, particularly those not widely advertised online. The data captured from online postings is also inconsistent, with varying levels of detail on skills requirements and job locations, and subject to revision. Despite these limitations, online postings data is increasingly being used to complement traditional sources of labour market information due to its granularity and near real-time nature.

For more information see: Understanding online job postings data.