Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
Although growing investment in clean energy technologies drove demand for new workers in every region of the world, a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), has said there’s still a high shortage of skills in the sector.
The second edition of the IEA’s World Energy Employment report, which is published annually, maps energy sector employment by region, fuel, technology, and value chain.
The report provides a data-rich foundation for policy makers, industry, labour, and educators to understand the labour-related impacts of clean energy transitions.
The IEA report noted that the global energy employment rose to 67 million people in 2022, an increase of 3.5 million from pre-pandemic levels, with more than half of employment growth over this period in just five sectors: solar PV, wind, electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries, heat pumps, and critical minerals mining.
Of the five sectors, it stated that 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.
Jobs in fossil fuel industries have also seen an increase year-on-year, but the rebound has been more subdued, leaving fossil fuels below pre-pandemic levels, despite oil and gas companies experiencing record revenues in 2022, it said.
As a result, the report noted that clean energy employment represented over half of total energy sector jobs, having overtaken fossil fuels in 2021.
“The uptick of clean energy jobs occurred in every region of the world, with China, home to the largest energy workforce today, accounting for the largest share of jobs added globally.
“The 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.
“However, a growing number of energy industries are citing skilled labour shortages as a key barrier to ramping up activity, according to a proprietary survey carried out by the IEA with 160 energy firms globally.