'Green' jobs and skills development for disadvantaged groups

Female engineer reviewing maintenance of solar cells, photo by Johnstocker/Adobe Stock

Johnstocker/Adobe Stock

People who face disadvantages, including those with low qualifications, may miss out on the opportunities presented by the transition to a greener economy. To ensure this is not the case, more targeted action is needed from relevant stakeholders, such as investing in skill-building among these populations.

What is the issue?

There is a large amount of research on the effectiveness of active labour market policies or programmes (ALMP) and integrating disadvantaged groups into employment, plus a growing body of literature on green jobs and green skills. However, despite research noting that the transformation to a greener economy is a key factor affecting availability of jobs, these two topics are rarely treated jointly and research bringing them together is scarce.

How did we help?

This study addresses the evidence gap on the employability of disadvantaged groups in the context of the greening of the economy and focuses on people with low qualifications. We studied 10 European cities and regions across France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, and used analyses of databases, semi-structured interviews and reviewed local, regional, national and international evidence. The study was supported by JPMorgan Chase.

What did we find?

  • People with low qualifications have limited opportunities to benefit from the greening of economies and they may be more disadvantaged in the future.
  • Investing in green skills among people with low qualifications may give them an advantage in an ever more competitive labour market.
  • There is a need for more targeted action from relevant stakeholders to make sure that people who face disadvantages, including those with low qualifications, do not miss out of the green transition.
  • We identified nearly 200 interventions of which supported disadvantaged groups into green jobs through education and training. However, their effectiveness needs to be examined through robust evaluations.

What can be done?

Future investment in skills training for green jobs and broadening employment opportunities could support further economic development and green transitions in a way that is fair and provides equal opportunities for all. Investment in some of the nearly 200 interventions we have identified in this report could aid this process.

However, robust evaluations are needed to examine if these interventions work, for whom and under what conditions. Funding is needed to test these interventions and adapt them so they are better suited for disadvantaged groups (in particular people with low qualifications) and scale these up, if they prove to be effective.

Initiatives that can step up the financing, policies and leadership needed to effectively support people with low qualifications into green jobs are needed at a more local level than currently available. There is room for creating a platform to bring different actors together and to ignite the change at the local level.