Scotland ahead

Shortage of recruits amid green finance boom

Glasgow IFSD
Financial services jobs are going green (pic: Terry Murden)

Scotland has the UK’s highest proportion of green financial job openings, according to new evidence which is now pointing to a shortage of recruits to fill new roles.

The latest report by PwC in its Green Jobs Barometer series says 5.6% of openings are classed as ‘green’, creating jobs such as sustainable investment analysts, climate strategists and ESG analysts, and the greening of existing jobs.

The report, produced in collaboration with the Financial Services Skills Commission (FSSC) and the Aldersgate Group, finds the proportion of job vacancies in the sector that are identified as green increased from 0.25% between 2019-2020 to 2.2% in 2022-2023.

This has grown from 4,900 jobs to 16,700. Given the scale of the green investment needed to meet net zero goals, in the UK and globally, this growth is expected to accelerate.  

Fraser Wilson, financial services leader at PwC Scotland, said: “This latest report demonstrates that the nation’s important role in ensuring a just energy transition goes beyond our strengths in the energy sector.

“Our financial services industry is thriving, with Scotland well-known as the UK’s largest financial hub outside of London, with Edinburgh in particular  leading the way in terms of its collaborative approach to developing green talent in order to support a sustainable financial system.”

However, the report warns that there is now pressure to find the talent to meet demand. The supply of green talent both from new entrants and the existing workforce is failing to rise with it and a green skills gap is emerging.

The total number of green job vacancies stood at nearly 17,000, in 2023 and it is estimated that graduates with sustainability skills would only be able to fill 900 of these vacancies. 

Jason Higgs, ESG leader at PwC Scotland, added: “It goes without saying that, to make the most of the green job opportunities available, we need the right skill and talent available – and so the skills gap that is emerging in line with the continuing growth of green and nature finance must be addressed. 

“Green skills are no longer a niche specialisation, but rather are now core to jobs in financial services. In Scotland, educational institutions like the University of Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt and Napier are actively promoting a sustainable and ethical financial system, nurturing a skilled workforce for the future.

“However, moving forward, collaboration between government, education and the sector itself will be key to ensure students and graduates are equipped for moving into a changing workforce, and that our existing sector workforce can readily reskill to take on the opportunities available.”

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