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June 3 2016
Employment in cleaner energy sectors is expanding, with the number of global green energy jobs up five per cent according to the latest review from a UN-supported organisation.
While the gas and oil sectors have seen a decline in recruitment efforts in recent months, it seems that renewable is only growing with this energy sector accommodating 8.1 million skilled employees in 2014/15 and up five per cent from 7.7 million in the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) last annual evaluation.
IRENA’s third employment review reveals how both direct and indirect employment in the renewable sector has created more green energy jobs around the world. It’s thought that this growth is the result of reducing technology costs in the sector, as well as a global ambition to cut carbon emissions reflected in the environment policies that many governments have introduced.
Areas such as wind and solar power have seen steady but secure development in the last review period and in this time a further 1.3 million people have found opportunities in the hydropower industry – an area that IRENA monitors separately as numbers can fluctuate, distorting the overall result.
Gas and oil companies have reduced their recruitment across the globe as crude prices continue to drop, while renewable energy on the other hand has experienced greater demand for a skilled workforce.
In the US, for example, green energy jobs rose by six per cent compared to a steep decline of 18 per cent in the oil and gas sector. In China, businesses in the renewable sector employed 3.5 million people with the oil and gas sector employing just 2.6 million.
The review doesn’t highlight as favourable an outlook on Europe’s renewable energy efforts, however. In fact, cleaner energy employment has grown at a slower pace than in previous years in the EU – where greener jobs have fallen for the fourth consecutive year because of weaker economic growth than their global neighbours. The review stated: "As in the previous years economic crises and adverse policy conditions led to reduced investments."
Nevertheless, renewables employment in Europe still stands at 1.17 million people and as powers around the world promote the need to switch to greener sources of energy this figure is only likely to swell. As IRENA’s director-general Adnan Z Amin explains:
"The continued job growth in the renewable energy sector is significant because it stands in contrast to trends across the energy sector.
"We expect this trend to continue as the business case for renewables strengthens and as countries move to achieve their climate targets agreed in Paris.”
Find out more about job opportunities in the sector by visiting our energy recruitment page.