SLP along side the other London sub-regional partnerships has commissioned a new Green Jobs and Skills in London: Cross-London Report.

The transition to net zero represents an unprecedented opportunity for the capital’s economy, with the prospect of over 600,000 green jobs by 2030.

The green sector is already important for London’s economy. In 2020 there were 234,000 jobs in green sectors in the capital, accounting for nearly one in 20 jobs (4.4%). The power (83,000), homes and buildings (58,000), and green finance sectors (51,000) accounted for most green jobs. London’s green sector generated £42bn of sales in 2020/21.

London will see rapid growth in green jobs in the coming years, as the sector becomes increasingly crucial for the capital’s economy. The research forecasts the number of green jobs will increase from 234,000 in 2020 to 605,000 in 2030, and over 1m by 2050. This represents an increase of almost 350% in just three decades. Job growth will be fastest in green finance and low carbon transport.

While hundreds of thousands of green jobs will be created in the coming years, the research finds that there are 390,000 jobs in carbon intensive industries in the capital that are at risk from the transition. This include 205,000 jobs in construction and 113,000 in land transport. However, the research finds that the transition to net zero will contribute to an overall increase in jobs in the capital, with 50,000 more jobs created than lost by 2030.

The jobs that will be created will be at all occupational levels, with a particular concentration of managerial, associate professional, and skilled craft. The green sector is expected to require over 17,500 more electricians and over 9,900 more plumbers in London by 2030.

Helping Londoners develop the skills they need for green jobs will be crucial in meeting the rapidly rising demand for workers in the sector. This will require both a significant expansion in relevant further education and higher education provision, and more people opting to move into green sectors on leaving education. However, given most workers moving into green jobs coming from other sectors rather than from education, we will also need to support workers already in the labour market to switch sectors and move into green jobs.

The report highlights the potential to use the shift to a green economy to tackle deep inequalities in London’s labour market, by helping disadvantaged Londoners into good quality jobs. However, addressing inequalities in access to green jobs will be crucial to ensuring all Londoners can benefit from the transformation of our economy. At present, men are over-represented in green jobs (66% compared to 54% across economy as a whole) as are white people (70% compared to 64%).

The research follows the release of the government’s long-awaited Net Zero Strategy last week. It comes ahead of the crucial COP26 conference in Glasgow, where world leaders will set out their plans to reduce emissions and address the climate emergency.

The research is the most comprehensive assessment of the impact of decarbonisation on London’s labour market. It was commissioned by Central London Forward, Local London, South London Partnership and West London Alliance – the four sub-regional partnerships who together represent the 33 local authorities in the capital. It was carried out by WPI Economics and Institute for Employment Studies.

With London’s economy facing enormous changes from the transition to net zero, central government will need to work with London boroughs and the Mayor of London to ensure that businesses and residents are supported to adapt, and to seize the opportunities the change will  bring.

Cllr Gareth Roberts. Leader, Richmond upon Thames Council and Chair of South London Partnership, said;

“The Green Jobs and Skills Report highlights the future opportunities in the South London Partnership boroughs to boost our region post-Covid, focusing on the Green Economy and responding to the climate emergency. Building on our ambitions in the South London Recovery Action Plan, we are committed to supporting our residents to harness the skills needed in accessing green jobs that are vital to the future prosperity and productivity of our region.”