In part 1 we talked about the importance of a more Circular Economy if we are going to clean up our planet and preserve it for future generations. Using Labour Insight we looked at the top occupations, employers, locations and the number of jobs since 2012. This formed the basis of a market report I had put together for Lucy Stanfield, Business Development Analyst for the Circular Economy at the University of Edinburgh.

Circular Economy skills & skills clusters in demand

Using Labour Insight, a database of online job postings dating back to 2012, I ran a query looking at postings using the terms “circular economy”, “industrial ecology”, “circular design”, “sustainable manufacturing”, “waste streams”, “Ellen MacArthur” and “cradle to cradle” over the last 12 months, UK wide.

Fig. 1 below shows the skills in greatest demand for our query and fig. 2 shows the skills clusters (clusters of skills which share similar functionality, can be substituted for each other or are often trained together)

Circular economy skills

Fig. 1 Circular Economy – Skills in Greatest Demand, last 12 months, UK wide.

Circular economy skills clusters

Fig. 2 Circular Economy – Skills Clusters in Demand, last 12 months, UK wide.

What is very interesting is the sheer range of skills. As well as the technical skills you might expect, we can also see: project and budget management; business process and analysis; business strategy and operations management as well as people management.

The range of skills is not surprising to those in the field – the Circular Economy impacts almost every sector and every business.

Education and Subject Areas

So, if you are interested in working in the Circular Economy, what qualifications do you need and what subjects should you study?

Fig. 3 below shows the minimum advertised education levels for our query, where the employer has given this information. As you can see the range covers level 1, S/NVQs right through to level 5, postgraduate degrees, so, working in the Circular Economy is possible at all education levels.

circular economy education levels

Fig. 3 Circular Economy – Education (Minimum Advertised) last 12 months, UK wide.

When looking at the degree subject areas, as shown in fig. 4 below, we can see the diverse range that we are becoming familiar with. The Circular Economy also needs economists and financial experts to get the new projects off the ground.

circular economy subject areas

Fig. 4 Circular Economy – Subject Areas in Greatest Demand, 12 months, UK wide.

Building this report for The University of Edinburgh really piqued my interest and got me thinking a lot more about my own environmental efforts, starting with finding out the meanings of the numbers in those funny little triangles at the bottom of plastic containers! The next step is to get to the standard of my colleague who chooses whether to buy something based on what it is wrapped in. We can always do better…

If like me, you were unaware of the Circular Economy, please share this blog with your peers. I would love to hear of any questions or comments that you may have, especially if you are working in the field.

Labour Insight users – please let me know if you would like me to put this report in your shared space.


Implementation and Support Consultant for Labour Insight


Tel: 01256 848 636 or 01256 464 749