Strategic Focus: Mind The Climate Skills Gap

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Executive Summary

The demand for climate-related skills exceeds the available supply, posing challenges for firms in terms of meeting climate requirements and implementing net zero strategies. A lack of expertise – and the limited size of dedicated teams – are hindering progress, with more job openings than qualified professionals. This shortage is exacerbated by the trade-off between climate expertise and corporate experience, geographical mismatch of talent pools, and misalignment between academic and corporate knowledge. To bridge the climate skills gap, firms can aggregate corporate and climate attributes when forming teams, establish prioritized hiring criteria, consider location challenges, target experienced hires from academic sources, and invest in training existing employees. By making these strategic adjustments, they can foster alignment between climate expertise and corporate experience, and build teams with the necessary skills and knowledge, capable of conducting increasingly rigorous climate-related activities.

Table of contents

Climate-related demands outstrip today’s climate skills supply
Many skilled climate professionals lack deep experience in corporate roles
Firms can clear the climate skills gap by adapting acquisition and training practices

Table of figures

Figure 1. Open climate-related positions 
Figure 2. Density of climate professionals 
Figure 3. Career paths of senior climate employees 
Figure 4. Pyramid of aggregated climate-related and corporate attributes for climate teams

Organisations mentioned

Accenture, AECOM, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Aviva, Bain, Belgian Federal Climate Change Department, BHP, BP, BT Group, Burberry, Cambridge Centre for Climate Science, Capgemini, Centre for Social and Economic Research on the Global Environment (CSERGE), CLIMACT, Coca-Cola, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO; formerly the UK Department for International Development (DFID)), Deloitte, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Environment and Climate Change Canada, ETH Zürich, European Commission, EY, GeoNames, GIZ (German Agency for International Cooperation), Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, Guidehouse, HSBC, ICLEI Africa, ICPAC, JLL, JPMorgan Chase, La Fresque du Climat, LinkedIn, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), M&g, Mazars, McKinsey & Company, Mercuria Energy, Microsoft, NatWest Group, NavInfo, Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Normative, ODI (Overseas Development Institute), Ontario Ministry of Energy, OpenStreetMap, PwC, Qantas, School District of Philadelphia, Scottish Government, Shell, South Africa Department of Environmental Affairs, South Pole, Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI), Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), Team for the Planet, The Climate Reality Project, TomTom, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, UK Department for Business, UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, UK Foreign, UK Met Office, UK Met Office Hadley Centre for Climate Science and Services, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), United Nations Foundation, University of Cape Town, University of Nairobi, University of Plymouth, URS Corporation, Volvo Cars, World Bank Group, World Economic Forum (WEF), World Meteorological Organization, Zenrin, Zukunft-Umwelt-Gesellschaft (ZUG), Zurich Insurance Group

About the authors

Alastair Foyn

Alastair is an Analyst in the Verdantix Net Zero & Climate Risk practice. His current research agenda focuses on carbon management software and decarbonization best practices, particularly those relating to Scope 3 and industrial emissions. Prior to joining Verdantix, Alastair worked at Tyler Grange, where he gained experience in consultancy practices and environmental strategy. Alastair holds a First Class BSc in Biological Sciences from Durham University, as well as an MSc in Sustainable Development, with Distinction, from the University of St Andrews.

Ryan Skinner

Research Director, Net Zero & Climate Risk
Ryan is the Research Director for the Verdantix Net Zero & Climate Risk practice. He guides the research team to develop compelling research at the intersection of net zero strategies, carbon management, climate risk and technology. Prior to joining Verdantix, Ryan was a principal analyst at Forrester Research, where he initiated the research into ESG data and analytics offerings. He also has extensive experience of helping software companies with their messaging, positioning, market and technology strategies. Ryan studied at Duke University, the University of Manchester and the University of Oslo, and speaks Norwegian fluently.

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