Defining and measuring green jobs

Closed 6 Oct 2022

Opened 11 Aug 2022

Feedback updated 29 Nov 2022

We asked

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) undertook an engagement exercise around measuring “green jobs”, from 11 August to 6 October August 2022. This sought to understand users’ interest in the topic and explore preferences for definitions, approaches, and breakdowns. 

This engagement exercise forms part of an HM Treasury-funded Economic Data Innovation Fund project on defining green jobs, with the intention of producing recognised and harmonised measures for the UK. 

For further details, please see our engagement exercise summary response document. 

We would like to thank all respondents for taking part in the engagement exercise and appreciate the time taken to share their views. 

You said

The engagement exercise received 107 responses from a range of stakeholders.  

These included:  

  • 35 responses from individuals responding in a personal capacity 
  • 33 responses from government, including local government and public bodies  
  • 15 responses from academia or research  
  • 11 responses from businesses  
  • 8 responses from other professionals  
  • 5 responses from third sector, including charities 

Around two thirds responded on a professional basis. Some 40% responded on behalf of an organisation or group.  

Respondents confirmed their current and/or expected uses of green jobs estimates, including:  

  • growth and investment 
  • policy or policies 
  • skills 
  • funding 
  • net zero greenhouse gas emissions 
  • ‘green’ transition over time 

The most popular definition among the three offered was the Green Jobs Taskforce definition; “Employment in an activity that directly contributes to - or indirectly supports - the achievement of the UK's net zero emissions target and other environmental goals, such as nature restoration and mitigation against climate risks.” This definition was preferred by 58% of respondents.  

The International Labour Organization definition was second favourite, ahead of the United Nations System of Environmental Economic Accounting, Environmental Goods and Services Sector definition. We also received comments highlighting the value of the three definitions offered, and similarities among them. 

We provided three options to frame a green jobs definition, which could be used to develop statistics. Most respondents (69%) ranked an occupation-based framing, as their favoured approach. For those who used one or more of the listed approaches, an industry-based approach was also regarded as advantageous, with a firm-based approach the least popular option of the three suggested. 

Almost half of respondents (49%) preferred geographic breakdowns of green jobs statistics from the three breakdowns offered (geographic, quality and demographic). However, users generally confirmed the merits of all three breakdowns. Respondents also offered suggestions for further breakdowns, with a clear demand for skills and educational attainment data, matched to green jobs statistics and data. 

Some respondents also commented on their wider interest in the environment (biodiversity, conservation, environmental protection, etc) and climate change.

For further details, please see our response summary document

We did

We committed to publishing this summary of responses to the engagement exercise by the end of 2022.  

We are now using the results of the exercise to work towards publishing a definition by the end of the first quarter of 2023. This will be followed by experimental statistics in 2023, and longer-term and regular outputs.  

We will produce a methodology for these estimates, outlining how they might best be used, and we will also outline how these statistics and data can be disaggregated to effectively meet different user needs.  

We will include an assessment of the strengths and limitations of definitions and estimates, along with guidance on potential sub-categories of green jobs. 

We will also be organising further opportunities for engagement and continued consultation with stakeholders and users. We are planning a follow up workshop on 31 January 2023. The aims of the workshop will include:  

  • discussion of the wording of an overall definition  
  • exploring how any definition can be divided into sub-definitions, and which are most important  
  • defining the detail of what is covered within any broad definition  
  • identifying areas where stakeholders can work together to further develop this topic  

If you would like to attend, please get in touch.  

We will also publish and communicate project updates similar to our previous work plans.  

Results updated 29 Nov 2022



The Office for National Statistics (ONS) was named in the government's Net Zero Strategy (October 2021), it states "The Office for National Statistics will seek to refine our understanding and measurement of the green economy as the UK transitions to net zero, including looking at such issues as quality of work and diversity within the green economy." 

The ONS’ “Green jobs”, current and upcoming work: March 2022 explained why green jobs are important for the UK and we have been funded by HM Treasury's Economy Data Innovation Fund to undertake a dedicated project on defining green jobs and producing statistical and analytical outputs.    

There is currently no agreed definition the ONS can use to produce statistics on green jobs. Various UK and international organisations use a range of definitions, which we explored in The challenges of defining a "green job". At the ONS, we currently produce two sets of related estimates, based on the Environmental Goods and Services Sector and the Low Carbon and Renewable Energy Economy

As part of the Green Jobs project, we will provide: 

  • an analysis of the responses from this user engagement exercise 

  • a clear definition or definitions of green jobs  

  • experimental statistics measuring green jobs, using these definitions  

  • initial analytical outputs  

  • a work programme for embedding statistics into standard output cycles 

We will also share our full methodology, including strengths and limitations of the estimates. We will explain how the data can be used, including how it can be disaggregated to effectively meet diverse user needs. At the ONS, we follow the Code of Practice for Statistics – our green jobs work will be produced using the Code. 

We are committed to consulting with our stakeholders to hear as many views as possible. We look forward to your responses. 


  • Anyone from any background


  • Economy
  • Health
  • Migration
  • Population
  • Statistics
  • Data
  • Surveys