If the UK is to reach its 2050 net zero target, 400,000 job opportunities will have to be created, research from National Grid has found.
In its report, Building the Net Zero Workforce, it explained that due to factors such as a loss of existing talent through a “retirement crunch” and a limited pipeline of young people choosing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) qualifications, the industry is facing a shortfall in the workforce needed to deliver key infrastructure in pursuit of net zero. Around 140,000 new workers will be needed to replace those leaving the workforce, while 260,000 are required for new roles
In the next decade alone, low carbon electricity generation must increase by 50%, low carbon heating systems must be installed in 2.8mn homes, carbon capture usage and storage technology and hydrogen networks must be developed, and 60,000 charging points have to be installed to power 11mn electric vehicles (EVs).
The report stressed there are positive signs when it comes to the wider public. Over three quarters (78%) of UK adults want to play a part in reaching net zero, while over half (57%) want to work for an organisation in helping the UK to get there.
Alongside key actions such as retaining and retraining existing employees, and inspiring the next generation to choose STEM qualifications, National Grid recommended reframing a job in the energy sector as joining the Net Zero Energy Workforce. It said that by tapping into the motivation of having a career with a purpose and showing how a job in the sector will achieve net zero, will attract the talent the sector needs. Furthermore, it could help to motivate and retain existing employees, ensuring the sector keeps vital expertise.