Green Job Growth Outpaces Overall Hiring in 2023

The number of jobs in the global energy sector continued to rise in 2023 as growing investment in clean energy technologies drove demand for new workers in every region of the world, according to a new IEA report that offers a benchmark for employment across all energy industries.

In 2022, global energy employment rose to 67 million people, 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.

Green jobs growth overtook job growth in fossil fuels in 2021, and now represents over half of total energy sector jobs.

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. As a result, clean energy employment represents 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 labor shortages as a key barrier to ramping up activity, according to a proprietary survey carried out by the IEA with 160 energy firms globally. The report finds the number of workers pursuing degrees or certifications relevant to energy sector jobs is not keeping pace with growing demand. This is particularly the case for vocational workers like electricians specialized for energy-sector work, as well as professionals in science, technology and engineering.

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