Many people have anticipated severe economic difficulties following the reopening of the world after the pandemic – however, other problems have emerged which could potentially stunt growth and recovery. Skills gaps have been a prominent problem throughout the world, however, London has had serious issues with industry-wide skills gaps.
Despite London having one of the largest economies in the world, alongside one of the swiftest recoveries post-pandemic, it has been experiencing serious skills shortages which have limited its overall prosperity. Out of the entirety of the UK, London has recovered from lockdown the fastest – but it has the largest skills gap.
But what is a skills gap? In broad terms, a skills gap is the difference between a company’s acquired skills and the skills required to fully reach the aims and goals of the business. However, a skills gap can also refer to prospective workers not having the skills needed to be able to perform emerging job roles.
According to the Mayor of London’s skills report, 21% of the 28% ‘hard-to-fill’ job vacancies were down to a skills shortage. Jobs are going unfilled throughout the Greater London area because of this skills shortage, slowing down London’s post-pandemic economic growth.
But one factor is helping London significantly close this skills gap – the emergence of the green economy, and how much Britain needs green jobs. Investment in training for green jobs is helping to significantly close this skills gap, allowing British workers to access training they need to advance in their careers. Excitingly, the emerging sustainable economy is providing new training opportunities that are helping London’s workers upskill and close the skills gap.
The push for sustainability has been one of the most significant factors when it comes to the emergence of a ‘green economy.’ Eco-consciousness has not only been a trend – it has fundamentally changed the shared narrative of a whole society. On average, the general public are far more conscious about global warming and the planet than ever before. The everyday consumer is now more likely to consider a business’ sustainability when choosing a business – and this consumer trend is only becoming more widespread.
For example, Deloitte has been conducting consumer research when it comes to sustainability over the past couple of years – and it is clear that sustainability is not just a fleeting trend. According to Deloitte’s research, one in four consumers are prepared to pay more for sustainability – and this number is growing. Over a quarter of consumers are willing to put their money where their mouth is for sustainability – the pressure on businesses to adapt to a green economy will only become stronger as the years go on.
However, to compete in the green economy, businesses will need to invest in adequate green training so that the company can adequately reach its sustainability goals. It’s not enough to simply say that your company is green – modern consumers are able to see through green washing and make the decision to not use that company. It’s essential to invest in good green skills training, so that your staff can actually improve their skills and adapt for the sustainable economy.
Furthermore, there are other benefits to green skills training besides sustainability – it could help industries close their skills gap and adapt to the emerging green economy. This has already been happening in London throughout a variety of sectors, and is helping to close the skills gap that has been limiting the economy’s growth.
One key sector where this can be seen in action is through the construction industry, which is an essential part of London’s infrastructure. In a city with as much history and iconic buildings as London, construction and development is essential to its identity. Despite this, London’s construction sector has been suffering significant skills gaps, before, during and after the pandemic.
The Mayor of London’s skills report surrounding the construction industry makes it clear how significant this skills gap used to be. In London, the Construction sector had the largest share of skill shortage vacancies. In 2019, the construction sector’s skill shortage vacancies were at a whopping 40% – with Health and social work coming second at 32%. It was found that
London employers face the greatest challenges in finding suitably skilled candidates
for Skilled Trades occupations, particularly for Skilled Construction and Building
Trades. 51% of vacancies for these roles were down to a skills shortage in 2019.
However, the increase in investment for green jobs and green training have been helping London’s construction industry close this skills gap. Building for energy-efficiency and sustainability will be a huge objective for London’s construction industry over the next few decades, as the capital will prepare to reduce carbon emissions to help the country achieve its net zero goals. These green construction jobs could create so much work for London’s construction workers, and being trained in these green construction skills could help to close this skills gap and allow construction companies to advance their business.
The British Government is currently funding lots of opportunities for green jobs training, particularly in the construction sector. Construction workers are able to access training for energy-efficiency construction work, such as solar panel installation, insulation, and double-glazing. These skills can allow construction workers the opportunity to upskill and close the skills gap, as well as helping London’s infrastructure become more eco-friendly. By funding green education opportunities across England, the government can achieve 3 goals – closing London’s skills gap, boost the economy, and promote sustainable construction in order to reach England’s net-zero goals set out at the Paris Climate Agreement.
Investing in green skills training is transforming the world of construction, but it doesn’t have to stop there – so many industries are in need of green jobs. Transport, agriculture, energy, even finance – as the green economy emerges, the need for green jobs and green training across all sectors will grow. Investing in this training is one of the best things you could do for your business, allowing you to prepare for a sustainable economy and close potential skills gaps in your industry. It’s working for London – and it could work for you.