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UK’s Staffing Shortages in Environmental Sector

Navigating Staff Shortages in the UK's Environmental Sector

The UK’s quest for net zero and sustainable environmental practices is facing a significant hurdle: staffing challenges.

As the country pushes toward a greener future, the environmental sector is grappling with staff shortages, a lack of specialist personnel, and issues related to pay. Let’s dive into the intricacies of these challenges and examine some solutions that can alleviate them.

Impact of Staff Shortages in the UK Environmental Sector

The environmental sector — pivotal to the UK’s efforts to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 — is under considerable strain due to staffing issues. A recent survey by the trade union Prospect, which received over 500 responses, sheds light on these challenges.

Key Takeaways from Prospect’s Survey

1. Expertise is waning: Four in 10 workers reported a decrease in the number of expert staff in the past year. This shortfall has consequences on workload levels, with 35% experiencing a significant surge in their work.

2. Pay disparities: Despite the sector being home to a large portion of specialised and highly educated staff, 38% of respondents earn £30,000 or less. The gender pay gap further exacerbates the issue, with women averaging earnings between £25,000-£30,000 compared to their male counterparts who earn between £30,000-£35,000.

3. Career stagnation: Almost half of the respondents expressed concerns about the lack of room for career progression in their current roles.

4. Government policy: Interestingly, 37% of respondents pointed towards government policy as the primary hurdle in preserving the environment and reaching net zero carbon emissions.

Sue Ferns, the senior deputy general secretary of Prospect, highlights the paradox in an interview with The Guardian: while the government champions the potential of green jobs, the sector remains underfunded, making it less aspirational for potential employees.

Staffing Solutions

Staffing Solutions to Support the Sector

While it’s clear that the government has a significant role to play in providing necessary funding, shaping favourable policies, and promoting environmental jobs as aspirational career choices, there are some changes that employers can make to solve the pressing challenges they face today.

1. Create Reskilling Opportunities

According to the World Economic Forum, the transition to clean energy is expected to generate 10.3 million net new jobs globally by 2030. That will offset the 2.7 million jobs expected to be lost in fossil fuel sectors. Employers that offer reskilling opportunities for employees from oil and gas will gain access to an experienced and hard-working base of candidates.

2. Revise Compensation Packages

Offering competitive salaries and benefits can attract and retain specialised talent. Given the skilled nature of many roles in the climate and environmental space, remuneration should reflect the value these individuals bring to the table. Providing clear career progression paths and incremental pay rises can motivate current employees to stay on as well as attract new talent.

3. Broaden Recruitment Channels

Diversifying recruitment methods can help tap into a wider talent pool. This includes considering remote roles, global talent, freelancers, and part-timers.

4. Leverage Technology to Maximise Reach

In challenging times, platforms like Hirematic can be invaluable to staying ahead of the competition for talent. Hirematic’s programmatic job ad platform uses cutting-edge algorithms to match job ads with the most suitable candidates quickly. This not only optimises recruitment but also ensures that organisations connect with the right talent efficiently.

Although the context is different from the environmental space, the challenges in recruiting specialised personnel are parallel in the ecommerce and manufacturing sectors.

Ecommerce giant Amazon solved some of its hiring challenges using Hirematic. The company generated 16,204 applications in just four months and reduced its CPA by 35% — saving almost $1 million in recruitment marketing costs. Similarly, Ferrero Group leveraged Hirematic to transform its recruitment for an Italian facility. The company was able to attract 1,606 applications in four months while lowering its CPA by 35% and yielding a saving of €13,000 from its ad budget.

Both these instances showcase Hirematic’s potential as an efficient and cost-effective solution for labour shortages in sectors where competition for talent is fierce.

Ready to tackle staffing challenges head-on? Contact us to see how Hirematic can transform your recruitment strategy.