Skills shortage could derail carbon cutting and net-zero pledges

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Published: 11 Oct, 2022
New Zealand faces a chronic shortage of skills to meet the ambitious carbon cutting and Net-Zero pledges made by organisations, according to recruitment and workforce solutions specialists Hays.
In response, Hays has outlined three steps employers can take to begin to build a more sustainable workforce and achieve a successful green transition.
We know that to avoid the irreversible impacts of climate change, we must keep global heating to 1.5 degrees by 2030,” says Adam Shapley, Regional Director of Hays in New Zealand.
Organisations are under pressure from various stakeholders to accelerate their decarbonisation efforts, including consumers, colleagues, policymakers and action groups.  
“But while the volume of green talent is steadily rising, we’re a long way from the number required to deliver a more sustainable future.
LinkedIn research shows the number of jobs requiring green skills has increased annually by 8% since 2015, but the share of green talent has grown by just 6% in the same period. Meanwhile, Greenpeace research shows the clean energy industry could create 25,000 new jobs in New Zealand.

How to design a green transition workforce strategy

Hays’s report, The green transition has started. Is your workforce strategy ready? considers how people strategies can power an organisation's green transition. In the report, Hays suggests a three-step strategy to help organisations support their shift towards a greener way of operating:
  1. Craft a greener culture: Organisations must reshape their workforce’s behaviours. According to Deloitte, today’s workforce “has been trained to generate economic value without much regard to its impact on the planet.” Therefore, a cultural shift is required to embed sustainability into the foundation of an organisation, including purpose, mission and objectives.

    This includes a leadership team who advocates for sustainability, incentivises sustainable results and communicates regularly to help employees break established habits.

  2. Build a skilled workforce: Recruiting new and upskilling or reskilling existing staff into green jobs is vital to your green transition. However, in a recent Hays poll on LinkedIn, just 40% of respondents said their organisation is upskilling or recruiting in preparation for the green transition.

    Additionally, employers could further support their green talent development by considering the transferable skills of people moving out of traditional energy, as well as alternative, diverse candidate pools.

    But this is only half the equation. A successful green transition also requires the evolution of all existing jobs. Just as digital transformation required people to gain new digital skills to perform their role successfully, the green transition demands we all learn to do our job in a green-first way. For instance, adopting energy saving practices, reducing plastic usage and making decisions based on carbon reduction.

  3. Develop strategic sustainable operations: To shift from intention to action, organisations can review and realign their operating models. This includes collecting and using data to track their end-to-end supply chain, utilising emerging climate technologies to power more sustainable processes and redesigning current consumption patterns.
These three steps can help power an organisation’s green transition, but they are by no means an exhaustive list, nor should they be an annual tick-box exercise,” says Adam. “Organisations must go beyond compliance and use all resources, expertise and talent at their disposal to accelerate decarbonisation efforts. After all, there is no planet B.
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For further information please contact Kathryn Crowden at kathryn.crowden@hays.com.au or Clare Zacka at clare.zacka@hays.com.au.

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About Hays

Hays is the leading specialist in recruitment and workforce solutions.

For further information please contact Kathryn Crowden at kathryn.crowden@hays.com.au, Clare Zacka at clare.zacka@hays.com.au or Adam Shapley at adam.shapley@hays.net.nz or +64 (0) 9 375 9424.
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