PwC Green Jobs Barometer series, sectoral paper in collaboration with the Financial Services Skills Commission and the Aldersgate Group

Job greening in the UK Financial Services Sector

Job greening in the UK Financial Services Sector
  • Insight
  • December 19, 2023

PwC’s Green Jobs Barometer measures the relative performance of the UK’s regions, nations and industry sectors on their progress developing green jobs over time. PwC has collaborated with the Financial Services Skills Commission and the Aldersgate Group to bring our latest sectoral report, exploring how jobs and the demand for skills are being reconfigured by the rise of green finance and other trends triggered by Net Zero goals. The report identifies best practices for upskilling initiatives in the finance sector to overcome the existing skills gap.

Key statements


Graduates alone will not be able to fill the green skills gap. In 2023 the total number of green job vacancies equaled almost 16,700. We estimate that graduates with sustainability skills would only be able to fill 900 of these vacancies. Therefore the UK must work to upskill its existing workforce.

Actions for industry

Offer firmwide sustainability programmes, utilise the Apprentice Levy to fund green apprenticeships, target upskilling and recruitment from diverse backgrounds and promote green culture throughout businesses.

Actions for education and training systems

Incorporate green finance modules into the curriculum including in apprenticeships, promote green career pathways for new entrants and create a standardised curriculum for sustainable finance accreditations.

Actions for government

Release concrete regulator signals to encourage green upskilling, reform the Apprenticeship Levy to allow for greater flexibility, target greater funding towards adult learning and upskilling initiatives.

Job greening in the UK Financial Services Sector

Financial services role in the race to Net Zero

The financial sector plays an important role in achieving Net Zero goals in the UK and globally. The sector can offer key contributions such as enabling transition finance for carbon intensive entities, giving access to low cost capital for innovative technologies, facilitating the transition through insurance and underwriting risks and helping individuals in their sustainability journeys through environmentally conscious product offerings. The government has highlighted the financial sector’s importance through the formulation of the 2019 Green Finance Strategy, though the sector’s crucial role is often misunderstood across the industry.

New tasks, new skills

As financial institutions recalibrate their priorities, the demand for green jobs and subsequently green skills has been growing at a significant rate. From 2020 to 2023, the demand for green jobs in the sector has increased by a factor of more than 3. As well as impacting demand for new jobs, the green transformations of businesses has implications for existing jobs and roles to increase knowledge of sustainability and ESG.

The challenge to meet Net Zero goals

The UK financial services sector faces a substantial green skills gap and is not moving fast enough to close it, putting the UK at risk of not meeting its Net Zero and sustainability goals. The main barriers to closing the gap through the existing workforce are insufficient upskilling initiatives beyond basic ESG and sustainability knowledge, the absence of standardised accreditations and difficulty in identifying and forecasting skills gaps within organisations. The sector also faces significant barriers to upskilling new entrants, primarily through the limited integration of green skills into financial academic programmes, a general lack of awareness of green career pathways across the younger generation and shifting values among young graduates causing those with degrees centred on sustainability to move away from applying to industries that are perceived as less socially and environmentally conscious.

Actions to prepare the workforce

There are purpose led best practices that organisations can take to drive meaningful change in workforce behaviours. These actions consist of:

  • Transformative leadership, to set the tone on sustainability from the top

  • People experience, through the offering of firm-wide sustainability trainings

  • Sustainable behaviours, that are encouraged across organisations through green initiatives

  • Measuring progress of sustainability initiatives and carbon emissions, through utilising reporting insights.

“Addressing the green skills shortage in the finance sector is essential if the UK is to both meet its ambition of becoming the world’s first Net Zero aligned financial centre and maintain the sector’s competitiveness globally. This report is an important first step in quantifying the green skills gap and sets out the policy change needed to ensure the sector has the capacity and capabilities to facilitate the transition to a Net Zero and nature positive economy.”

James Fotherby
Senior Policy Officer, Aldersgate Group


In order to close the green skills gap in the financial services sector, the UK must take a multifaceted approach to attract new entrants and upskill the existing workforce. This will require the industry, education and training systems and the Government to work together to take action. As reskilling will take time and the transition to Net Zero is already underway, investment in resources, training and changes to policy should commence straight away. 

Green Jobs Barometer series

Job greening in the UK Financial Services Sector

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Head of Reputation and External Affairs, PwC United Kingdom

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