The number of jobs in the global energy sector rose in 2022 as clean energy technologies are driving higher demand; however, the lack of skills to fill these jobs remain to be a concern, according to a new IEA report published on Wednesday.
The second edition of the World Energy Employment report, which is published annually, maps energy sector employment by region, fuel, technology, and value chain. In this edition, IEA provides a data-rich foundation for policymakers, industry, labour, and educators to understand the labour-related impacts of clean energy transitions.
According to the report, global energy employment rose to 67 million people in 2022, an increase of 3.5 million from pre-pandemic levels. More than half of employment growth over this period was in just five sectors: solar PV, wind, electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries, heat pumps, and critical minerals mining. Of the five sectors, solar PV is by far the largest employer, accounting for 4 million jobs, while EVs and batteries were the fastest growing, adding well over 1 million jobs since 2019.
“The unprecedented acceleration that we have seen in clean energy transitions is creating millions of new job opportunities all over the world – but these are not being filled quickly enough,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.
The increase in clean energy jobs took place in every region of the world, with China, home to the largest energy workforce today, accounting for the largest share of jobs added globally.
This expansion of clean energy industries is also generating upstream jobs in critical mineral mining, which added 180,000 jobs in the last three years, highlighting the growing importance of these essential elements in the new energy economy.
“Governments, industry and educational institutions need to put in place programmes to deliver the expertise needed in the energy sector to keep pace with growing demand, particularly to manufacture and build the clean energy projects necessary to meet our energy and climate goals,” added Birol.
“Around 36% of the world’s energy workers are in high-skilled occupations, compared with about 27% for the wider economy,” said IEA in a statement.
The increasing demand for workers in clean energy is expected to continue, with the growth in new jobs outweighing declines in fossil fuel roles in all IEA scenarios.
“In the updated Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario – which provides a global energy sector pathway consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5 °C – 30 million new clean energy jobs are created by 2030, while close to 13 million jobs in fossil fuel-related industries are at risk,” added IEA.