The number of jobs in the global energy sector rose in 2022 as growing investment in clean energy technologies drove demand for new workers in every region of the world, according to a new IEA report.
The second edition of the World Energy Employment Report, which is published annually, measures energy sector employment by region, fuel, technology, and value chain.
The report found global energy employment rose to 67 million people in 2022, an increase of 3.5 million from pre-pandemic levels. Over half of employment growth over this period was in five sectors: solar PV, wind, electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries, heat pumps, and critical minerals mining.
Of the five sectors, solar PV was found to be the largest employer, accounting for 4 million jobs, while EVs and batteries were the fastest growing employers, adding over 1 million jobs since 2019. Jobs in fossil fuel industries have also seen an increase year-on-year but the employment levels are still below pre-pandemic levels.
According to the report, clean energy employment represents over half of total energy sector jobs after overtaking fossil fuels in 2021.
IEA found the increase in clean energy jobs occurred in every region of the world, however, China accounted for the largest share of jobs added globally despite already having the largest energy workforce.
The unprecedented acceleration that we have seen in clean energy transitions is creating millions of new job opportunities all over the world.
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, according to the report.
A proprietary survey carried out by the IEA with 160 energy firms globally found a growing number of energy industries are citing skilled labour shortages as a key barrier to ramping up activity. The report found the number of workers pursuing degrees or certifications relevant to energy sector jobs is not keeping pace with increased demand.
In the updated Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario – which provides a global energy sector pathway to limiting global warming to 1.5 °C – 30 million new clean energy jobs will be created by 2030, the IEA says, while close to 13 million jobs in fossil fuel-related industries are at risk. The IEA says this means that around two clean energy jobs would be created for every fossil fuel-related job lost.
IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol commented: “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.
“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.”