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Highest qualification achieved, by workforce – net zero versus carbon-intensive industries

This graph shows the qualifications, i.e. the difference between the average qualification level of employees in each workforce, we see a different picture. At an aggregate level, the average qualification level for workers employed in net zero industries is roughly the same as the national average, at 4.36 and 4.33 respectively. This suggests that the workforce does not simply need more graduates for the net zero transition, it needs more of the right kind of graduates – in STEM subjects for instance – and an increase in on-the-job learning.

There is, however, a large qualification gap between those employed in net zero jobs, at 4.36, and those in existing carbon-intensive industries, for whom the average qualification level is 3.70. Looking at it another way, 42% of current workers in net zero jobs are educated to degree or higher education level, as shown in Figure 4. This compares to 26% in carbon-intensive industries (or 25.8% including Retail). The high reliance on engineering and technology degrees in net zero jobs is likely to be a key reason for this difference. In contrast, 44% of those working in carbon-intensive industries are educated no higher than GCSE level, or possess no other qualifications, compared to 26% of those in net zero industries. This suggests that it is unreasonable to expect many workers to make the transition from carbon intensive industries into net zero jobs without high levels of retraining and upskilling.

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