ARKANSAS, Nov 17 (Future Headlines)- The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released its second edition of the World Energy Employment report, revealing a notable increase in global energy sector jobs in 2022. Driven by growing investments in clean energy technologies, the report provides a comprehensive overview of energy sector employment by region, fuel, technology, and value chain. This benchmark report serves as a valuable resource for policymakers, industry stakeholders, labor representatives, and educators to understand the labor-related impacts of clean energy transitions.

Global energy employment reached 67 million people in 2022, marking an increase of 3.5 million from pre-pandemic levels. The surge in clean energy jobs played a significant role in this growth, with more than half of the employment increase concentrated in five sectors: solar photovoltaic (PV), wind, electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries, heat pumps, and critical minerals mining.

Solar PV emerged as the largest employer among the five sectors, accounting for 4 million jobs globally. EVs and batteries experienced the fastest growth, adding well over 1 million jobs since 2019. Clean energy employment now represents over half of total energy sector jobs, surpassing fossil fuels in 2021.

Jobs in fossil fuel industries saw a year-on-year increase, but the rebound has been more modest compared to clean energy. Despite record revenues in 2022 for oil and gas companies, fossil fuel employment remains below pre-pandemic levels.

The growth in clean energy jobs occurred worldwide, with China, home to the largest energy workforce, contributing the most to global job additions. The expansion of clean energy industries also led to job growth in critical mineral mining, adding 180,000 jobs in the last three years.

A survey conducted by the IEA with 160 energy firms globally revealed that an increasing number of energy industries face skilled labor shortages as a significant barrier to scaling up activities. The report highlights that the number of workers pursuing relevant degrees or certifications is not keeping pace with the growing demand for skilled labor, especially in vocational roles and STEM professions.

While some fossil fuel companies are retraining workers internally for low-emissions roles, challenges persist, particularly in the coal sector, where employment has been consistently declining due to mechanization. A people-centered and just transition for affected workers is crucial, and policymakers need to focus on job training and capacity building.

The demand for workers in clean energy is expected to continue growing, with new job creations outweighing declines in fossil fuel roles in all IEA scenarios. In the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario, consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5 °C, 30 million new clean energy jobs are projected to be created by 2030, while close to 13 million jobs in fossil fuel-related industries are at risk.

The report emphasizes the need for governments, industry, and educational institutions to implement programs addressing the expertise gap in the energy sector to keep pace with growing demand. Policies should focus on job training, capacity building, and ensuring a just transition, particularly in regions where coal employment has been declining.

The report underscores the transformative impact of clean energy transitions on the global workforce and emphasizes the urgency of addressing skill shortages to facilitate a smooth and inclusive transition to a sustainable energy future.

Editing by Sarah White