Green talent shortage could slow down the ecological transition

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According to a ManpowerGroup survey, six out of 10 Belgian employers are already recruiting ‘green’ profiles or developing the skills needed for the ecological transition, but one in two companies is having difficulty finding them on the job market.


The challenges posed by climate change are beginning to change the skills sought by companies in Belgium. The emergence of a more sustainable world is gradually transforming our economy and the products and services offered by companies, and this is having a direct impact on employment and the profiles they are seeking.


According to a ManpowerGroup (1) survey of 510 companies, six out of 10 employers have added this concern to their HR management agenda: 22% of the companies surveyed say they have already put in place an HR strategy to meet environmental challenges, in terms of both recruitment and skills management, 21% are already actively recruiting specific profiles and 20% are beginning to define their requirements for Green Jobs and Skills.


Conversely, 13% say they have no need for green jobs or skills, 8% have not yet defined their skill requirements and 9% are not sure what is meant by green jobs or skills.


“The transition is underway and countries, regions and organisations of all sizes have set targets to address global warming,” explains Sébastien Delfosse, Managing Director of ManpowerGroup BeLux. “Our survey shows that a growing number of companies are looking for profiles to support this transformation. However, the shortage of green talent could hinder their progress. In fact, almost one in two Belgian employers involved in this area is finding it difficult to find specific green profiles, and 80% are affected by talent shortages in general. This is very worrying when you consider – as confirmed by a study carried out by Climact, LENTIC-ULiège and HIVA- KU Leuven (2 – that by 2050, 45% of jobs in Belgium could be changed by the ecological transition.  In this context, training (reskilling & upskilling) and preparing new generations for these new challenges are short- and medium-term priorities”.





Green jobs and green skills

The environmental transition already offers a wide range of career opportunities and these will continue to expand over the next few years. A distinction needs to be made between green jobs and green skills.  Green jobs cover specific functions aimed at preserving or restoring the environment – these may include jobs related to renewable energies or energy saving, construction and renovation of buildings, biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, mobility, waste management, the circular economy, etc. Green skills relates to the skills required to make a difference to the environment – green skills are grafted onto basic skills to incorporate the sustainable dimension into a profession –- for example, adapting products or services to new environmental standards.

According to the ManpowerGroup survey, the jobs requiring the most ‘green skills’ in Belgium are, in descending order :

  • Manufacturing, Production & Construction (29%)
  • Operations & Logistics (27%)
  • Engineering (26%)
  • IT & Data (26%)
  • Sales & Marketing / Office Support (25%)



Green talent shortages: the main challenge for companies committed to the transition

According to Belgian companies planning to integrate “green” profiles into their workforce, the major challenges to be overcome in this process are:

  • Finding qualified workers (47%)
  • Creating relevant upskilling and training programs (37%)
  • Understanding which existing skills need to be updated (32%)
  • Identifying current skills which can be applied (26%)
  • Calculating the ROI for business (25%)


30% of companies surveyed have not yet put green jobs on their agenda

For companies surveyed that have no plans to take a position on the subject:

  • 37% do not know what Green Jobs are
  • 31% think Green Jobs are not relevant to their business
  • 16% think Green Jobs are not one of their priorities
  • 13% think their business is too small
  • 11% think Green Jobs are too expensive
  • 10% think it’s a fad





(1)ManpowerGroup’s Summer HR Trends Survey:
The data for this survey conducted by ManpowerGroup was collected in late April 2023 during the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook survey, carried out with a representative sample of 510 employers. The survey covered three themes:

  • Artificial intelligence and recruitment
  • Gaming skills
  • Green jobs


(2) Report: Implications of the climate transition on employment, skills and training in Belgium                               

  • Carbon neutrality, which Europe wants to achieve by 2050, means changing the world of work. A joint study published on 6 June 2023 by Climact, LENTIC-ULiège and HIVA- KU Leuven, describes the green professional landscape of tomorrow
  • Information & Insights
  • Report