The Top Energy Sector Employment Trends 2022 – 2025
The Renewable Energy Market Landscape
Employment rates in the energy sector have shown explosive growth over the past couple of years, with around 18 million individuals employed by the sector and the number expected to increase to 26 million by 2050. This significant growth is largely due to the growing interest in decarbonisation and the switch to clean energy which is birthing a new demand to operate and utilise modern green tech.
Statista’s graph demonstrates the impact the energy transition will have on jobs worldwide by comparing the number of employees for each of the following sectors in 2019 and their forecasts for 2030. The electricity sector expects to see the largest rise in the number of employees with over 10 million jobs as a net increase, with bio energy also expecting a smaller increase. The oil and gas, and coal sectors, on the other hand, will experience a net decrease in jobs as companies undergo layoffs while scaling down their operations in these areas.
Statistia – Number of employees in the energy supply industry worldwide in 2019, with a forecast for 2030, by source.
Concern for Energy Labour Force Cuts
Although there is concern regarding the loss of jobs within the oil and gas, and non-renewable energy sectors, studies by the European Institute on Economics and the Environment in Italy indicated that the energy transition will in fact only create more jobs to the global energy industry. The same study also found that if countries were to meet their climate goals as set out by the Paris Agreement, there would be a net increase of 8 million energy jobs worldwide.
There is also growing sentiment in the oil and gas sector where employees in this field have become more accepting towards the shift in clean energy. Another study by Statista asked various energy sectors which sector they would shift to in the event of a career change, and the majority of the oil and gas sector responded saying they would pick the renewable sector (52% of respondents) over nuclear (6% of respondents), petrochemicals (24% of respondents) and power (16% of respondents).
The Impact of COVID-19 on the Energy Sector Workforce
With up to 40% of employees in the energy sector workforce made redundant due to the pandemic, a startling shortage of talent in this sector has become prevalent as corporations are now trying to scale up operations once more. Simply rehiring employees will, however, not solve the problem as it was discovered that a majority of laid off employees were in fact from foreign countries which creates more logistical problems to refill some of these positions.
The Top 2022 Career Pathways in Energy
With the energy sector experiencing rapid growth in employment, there is an excess of opportunity for the youth and existing labourforce to tap into.
Employment pathways can typically be broadly categorised into the disciplines of engineering, information technology, sciences, mathematics, and management and business. Within these fields some of the highest paying career pathways presently include:
● Information Systems Manager ($146,360)
● Architectural Manager ($144,830)
● Aerospace Engineer ($116,500)
● Chemical Engineer ($108,770)
● Atmospheric Scientist ($95,380)
The energy sector workforce however also has certain job roles which may not be topping the charts in regards to highest paying careers but are projected to see a massive increase in demand. These jobs include:
● Wind Turbine Service Technicians (68.2% increase from 2020 – 2030)
● Solar Photovoltaic Installers (52.1% increase from 2020 – 2030)
● Logisticians (29.5% increase from 2020 – 2030)
● Service Unit Operators (22.9% increase from 2020 – 2030)
● Software Developers (22.2% increase from 2020 – 2030)
The Search for Net-zero Talent – Where to Begin?
As the global economy accelerates to a net-zero reality, many employees in the oil and gas sector consequently feel threatened by potential cuts in the workforce. Economists have predicted that 2050 could see an increase of up to 8 million more employees in the energy sector, with manufacturing and installation of green tech accounting for a large majority of this number.
However, many of the skills required for operating renewable technology are in fact transferable from oil and gas sector workers. The technical capabilities and skill sets of handling complex machinery are applicable for both energy sectors once the initial learning curve has been overcome. As such it is likely that many renewable energy companies and teams will rely on recruiting workers from the oil and gas sector to capitalise on pre-established work ethic and familiarity of the sector. The International Energy Agency estimates that approximately 38% of the job positions in the renewable energy and other related sectors will retrain and repurpose existing job roles to meet the increased demand of labour in this field.
Renewable energy jobs also provide further job security over oil and gas jobs which have been known to fluctuate demand-wise. As the sector itself relies on the price of oil as an indicator for scaling operations, every time the market experiences significant shifts so does the labour force demand. Renewable energy jobs, on the other hand, will only inevitably continue to grow as governments and companies will only continue scaling up to meet their net-zero goals.
Asia as a Renewable Energy Leader
A large number of oil and gas companies are in fact located in Asian countries where renewable energy progress is further behind compared to other leading regions. There is growing concern over how the lack of investment in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia could lead to significant downhill impacts on their economies.
As a counter argument, many environmental scientists have noted how the region has much potential to revert to renewable energy and is likely to see explosive growth as investors shift away from non-renewable to renewable energy investment. The ASEAN association, being a noteworthy example, has an overarching goal of securing 23% of energy from renewables by 2025. These environmentally-friendly policies will serve as a guide as countries in this area scale up power generation to meet the rapid urbanisation and population growth requirements of access to electricity (Southeast Asia alone is expecting to see a population growth of up to 25%).
Strategic Pathways and Solutions For Identifying Talent
The progress towards a net-zero reality will ultimately place much emphasis on the skilled labour market as it holds the potential to constrain advancement for the renewable energy sector. Repurposing and retaining existing employees in oil and gas, coal and other non-renewable energy sectors will be one strategic pathway for companies to tackle the increased demand of jobs in this sector.
To power the energy transition, people will play an essential role and attracting the right talent will prove difficult with the looming shortage of skilled labour approaching. Creating jobs under more equal, diverse, and socially beneficial environments will be a key method in retaining and attracting talent, which will be paramount to any successful organisation looking to establish itself in the energy sector.
As a second solution, governments will need to conduct more niche research into the various sub sectors of renewable energy to further understand the different skills and job roles desired for each specialisation. This plays an important role in the next step of the process; creating an education and training plan to assist future employment opportunities. Research will also allow for governments to create policies in alignment with economic and social advantages of each country to maximise attractive benefits for desired workers. These national guidelines will spillover and be reflected in internal L&D programmes at organisations and will result in high retention rates.
With proper strategic planning, the displacement of workers in non-renewable energy sectors can be mitigated successfully while also using the excess of workers to narrow the growing labour gap in the renewable market as a business opportunity. Therefore organisations and companies should start planning their moves not only towards transitioning to cleaner energy but preparing for the structural shifts required to secure new talent to power the energy transition.
Do You Have Questions Around Recruiting for the Energy Transition?
● What processes can I implement at my company to attract more high-level talent?
● What job skills are my competitors looking for in similar verticals?
● Where do I start searching for top-level talent and should I consider headhunting?
● How do I mitigate some of the risks associated with hiring overseas talent?
● What are the benefits an RPO service could provide my company?
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