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Global Energy Employment Bounces Back Above Pre-Covid Levels

Global energy employment has surpassed pre-pandemic levels due to hiring in the clean energy sectors, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its first-ever World Energy Employment Report on Thursday.

The global workforce in the energy sector has increased to around 65 million people, or 2% of the total labor force, with clean energy jobs driving the growth. At the same time, the oil and gas sector, which saw some of the largest declines in employment at the start of the pandemic, has yet to fully recover, according to the IEA.  

Clean energy already employs over 50% of all energy workers due to the substantial growth of new projects. However, the Middle East and Russia are notable exceptions to the trend of clean energy employment.

On the other hand, fossil fuels employ nearly 32 million people globally today. Some energy companies are transferring their workers to low-carbon segments internally to retain talent and allow for flexibility to shift workers between different business segments as needs arise, the report found.   

Yet, there is also an uptrend in oil and gas employment thanks to new projects under development, especially in new liquefied natural gas (LNG) infrastructure, the IEA said.  

Looking at this year, energy sector employment is set for its fastest growth in recent years, the energy agency noted. But high input costs and inflationary pressures are adding to hiring and supply chain challenges that have started to manifest in some subsectors such as solar, wind, oil, and gas.   

Regionally, more than half of energy employment is in the Asia-Pacific region, with China alone accounting for 30% of the global energy workforce.

Manufacturing hubs in China and other Asian countries support much of the global sectors of solar panels, electric vehicles, and batteries, the IEA’s report showed.

As countries look to reach net zero, clean energy employment will continue to rise, offsetting declines in oil, gas, and coal jobs, the IEA said. Under the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario, 14 million new clean energy jobs will be created by 2030, while another 16 million workers are set to switch to new roles in the clean energy sector, according to the IEA.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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