Getting Workforce Changes in the Transition to Net Zero | Deloitte Netherlands


Getting Workforce Changes in the Transition to Net Zero

The significance of climate change for the planet has long been recognized, but the practical economic impacts are now becoming evident. Extreme weather events or a poorly managed transition to low-carbon fuels, for example, could disrupt more than 800 million jobs, or about a quarter of the global workforce.

Deloitte Global’s report, Work Toward Net Zero, focuses on the implications of climate change and decarbonisation for the workforce. Drawing on the new Job Vulnerability Index, it identifies the jobs most at risk, across regions and sectors, with two categories emerging as the most vulnerable: those exposed to physical damage resulting from climate change, and those in industries with high emissions, on which decarbonisation initiatives will have greatest impact. 

The future’s not necessarily bleak, and could be green, as long as action is taken quickly, but carefully. Acting now to reduce carbon emissions can reduce the physical impacts of climate change, but hasty and uncoordinated transformation of industries could create its own impacts. 

Work Toward Net Zero Report

“Our analysis shows that 80% of the skills that will be required for jobs in our increasingly decarbonised economy already exist. It’s clear that these skills and the Green Collar workforce will be the driver of the transition – not the consequence of the transition. With the right policy support from governments globally, we can create more jobs, better outcomes for workers, and a more equitable distribution of the opportunities created in a net-zero economy.” 
Dr. Pradeep Philip  
Partner, Deloitte Economics Institute 

By understanding the implications of both climate change and our actions to reduce it, we can realise the opportunities for the world’s economies. Properly directed investment in future, low-carbon economies can stimulate growth and build a new ‘Green Collar’ workforce, characterised by new types of work, skills and occupation. Growth in general will increase demand for many existing skills, while decarbonisation will change the nature of some jobs, and emerging technologies and markets will create new areas of work and skills. 

Such growth will require investment but – done right – it could create more than 300 million jobs by 2050, and bring an economic dividend of USD$47 trillion. Proactive public policy is essential, to inform, drive and coordinate investment and action, and ensure a just transition. 

The Deloitte Economics Institute has developed a Green Collar workforce policy agenda, which identifies what actions should be considered by decision-makers in adapting industries and workforces for a low-carbon economy: 

  • Create high-value jobs for transition pathways, to offer the living standards and meaningful work that will attract and retain workers through the transition. 
  • Reform education and training systems, to provide upskilling and retraining for the workforce, and facilitate routes into high-growth sectors for those with in-demand skills.  
  • Reallocate skills effectively, with a policy-driven portfolio approach that considers which workers are in the wrong location, have the wrong skills, are underutilised or unmotivated. 
  • Set ambitious targets for emissions reduction, to focus attention and drive coordinated investment decisions with the right timing and scale to benefit the workforce and realise the cost benefits of transition. 
  • Adopt a systems approach for new policy, to coordinate collaboration amongst the many agencies and systems involved, including business, government, finance and technology.

Get the bigger picture from the full report: Work Toward Net Zero: The Rise of the Green Collar Workforce in a Just Transition.

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