Ranking fourth in the latest iteration of PwC’s Green Jobs Barometer, the South East offered the largest number of green vacancies outside of London in 2023, at 33,917 roles.
When combined with London’s 45,219 opportunities, roles advertised across both regions accounted for 32.7% of all new green job postings in the UK.
First launched in November 2021, the Green Jobs Barometer focuses on movements in green job creation, job loss, carbon intensity of employment and worker sentiment across regions and sectors.
The Barometer highlights that the South East experienced a 37.8% decrease in the number of green jobs advertised compared with last year. Within the region, green job adverts as a proportion of all adverts sit 6.5% below the UK average, at 2.17% – down from 2.22% in 2022.
Across the UK, the number of green jobs advertised has fallen from record levels in 2022 – albeit at a smaller rate than the decline seen in the UK’s job market overall.
High interest rates and a challenging economic backdrop have seen the number of total advertised roles down by 29%, while the number of green jobs fell by 26%.
Whilst green jobs have demonstrated a degree of resilience in a cooling labour market, the majority of the UK’s nations and regions have seen a decline in the availability of green job opportunities.
The South East saw a decline in green jobs advertised across several sectors, including professional, scientific and technical activities (-32%), construction (-41.1%), accommodation and food service activities (-62.5%), information and communication (-42%) and transportation and storage (-56.2%). The region did, however, see roles advertised in public administration and defence increase by 11.3%.
New analysis in this year’s Barometer reveals that on a range of measures, access to green jobs remains unevenly spread by background, undercutting the opportunity for a competitive and equitable green job market.
Compared to the labour market overall, green jobs tend to be concentrated in “white collar” roles and require a higher level of education at degree level or equivalent.
This is especially true in the regions which have seen the strongest performance of green jobs; in the South East, London and Scotland almost 40% of green jobs advertised require a university degree or equivalent experience.
Julian Gray, PwC’s South East regional market leader, said: “Challenging economic circumstances have unsurprisingly resulted in a cooling of the labour market across the UK, including the South East, and our latest Green Jobs Barometer demonstrates that while green jobs are not immune to these trying circumstances, they are showing a degree of resilience.
“It’s encouraging to see that, despite a reduction in green job opportunities – which is also being experienced in other UK regions – the South East offered the highest number of roles outside of London. This underscores our steadfast commitment to green jobs and emphasises our focus on creating a sustainable future.
“Our ability to maintain a consistent proportion of green job adverts speaks to the enduring strength of the South East’s commitment to sustainability. It lays the groundwork for strategic initiatives that will further bolster our standing in the green job sector.
“The high volume of roles concentrated in London and the South East does, however, highlight the need for collaborative efforts to ensure a more equitable distribution of green job opportunities as the UK strives to meet challenging net zero targets by 2050.”