From solar panels to wind turbines, and everything in between, clean energy is an innovative and exciting sector providing a diverse range of renewable energy jobs. The industry provides a fast growing variety of career paths for people all over the world.
Renewable energy, or energy from sources that are naturally replenished, is becoming increasingly important. It is key to building reliable and affordable power systems for the future and to meet international targets for reducing carbon emissions. Government and private funding of renewable energy projects is increasing, plus many people are choosing to lead environmentally responsible lives. Accordingly, this all has a positive impact on jobs in the clean energy sector.
Renewable Energy Jobs Worldwide
According to a report by the International Energy Agency, the number of energy jobs worldwide has risen above pre-pandemic levels and this growth has been driven by increased hiring in clean energy sectors. What’s more, the report reveals how clean energy now passed the 50% mark for its share in total energy employment. Plus, nearly two thirds of workers are involved in the building of new projects for, and the manufacturing of, clean energy technology. As part of the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 plan, 14 million new clean energy jobs will be created by 2030. Additionally, 16 million workers would move to new roles related to clean energy.
The International Renewable Energy Agency’s Renewable energy and jobs: Annual review 2022 provides the latest estimates of renewable energy employment globally. The report recorded over 12 million renewable energy jobs worldwide in 2021. Close to two thirds of all jobs were in Asia and China alone and solar was the fastest growing industry. Jobs in this sector accounted for more than a third of the renewable energy workforce.
In our Wind Energy Jobs Global Outlook article, we wrote that the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports wind service turbine technician as being projected to be one of the fastest growing professions over the next 10 years.
These figures all indicate positive growth in a thriving sector with a diverse range of career opportunities.
Renewable energy employment falls into the category of ‘green jobs’. There are multiple definitions of green jobs, consequently this can sometimes be a complex area.
There are two main definitions available internationally. Firstly, there is one from the United Nations System of Environmental Economic Accounting. Secondly, one from the International Labour Organization. The former suggests a green job is “areas of the economy engaged in producing goods and services for environmental protection purposes, as well as those engaged in conserving and maintaining natural resources.” This is the definition that the Office for National Statistics produces its UK employment estimates based on.
The International Labour Organization’s definition is slightly broader and also states that green jobs must be ‘decent’. Adding this dimension of quality does make the task of quantifying figures trickier. However, all employers should be striving to ensure any job is ‘decent’. This means adequate pay, safe working conditions, job security and workers rights. Subsequently attracting the best candidates, so companies can power forward together in the energy transition.
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