How is the Renewable Energy Jobs Market Changing?

As part of our ongoing commitment to supporting energy professionals seeking roles in the industry, we’re taking a look at the renewable energy jobs market and how it’s shifting in hotspots around the globe. 

In this article, we’re exploring how the jobs market is changing, how many jobs are available in energy, which industries are growing the fastest and where the renewable energy hotspots are around the world.

How many jobs are available in renewable energy?

According to a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), worldwide employment in the renewable energy sector reached 12.7 million in 2022 – a jump of nearly 700,000 in just one year.

An increasing number of countries are creating renewable energy jobs, with almost two-thirds of global roles in Asia. China alone accounts for 42% of the global total as it makes big strides towards sustainable practices. The EU and Brazil both account for 10% of roles, while the USA and India account for 7% each. 

This is despite the long-term impact of COVID-19 and a growing energy crisis. In fact, external challenges around sustainability may be driving the rapid increase, as more and more professionals seek a potentially lucrative role in the alternative energy sector.

The breakdown of renewable energy jobs globally is as follows:

4.3 million jobs in Solar PV

1.3 million jobs in Wind Power

2.4 million jobs in Hydropower

2.4 million jobs in Biofuels

Where are the fastest-growing renewable energy job sectors?

Solar energy is the fastest-growing sector according to the report and now makes up a third of the current renewable energy workforce (4.3 million) globally.

The largest contributors to the solar sector are South-East Asian countries pushing to become solar photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing hubs. China is the leader in this push, manufacturing and installing a huge amount of solar PV panels nationwide including the world’s largest floating solar farm. It’s expected that the country will post record growth in 2023 for solar energy production.

Europe continues to provide the majority of the world’s wind power output and also leads the exportation of wind power equipment, whilst trying to innovate and develop its solar PV manufacturing.

Africa is playing a limited role but continues to see increases in job opportunities, particularly in supporting local agriculture and decentralised renewables.

In the Americas, Mexico continues to play an important role in wind power manufacturing – especially wind turbine blades – while the US and Brazil are leading the way in terms of biofuels. Both countries are building the necessary infrastructure to harness renewable natural gas and investing millions into projects across the continent. 

The future of biogas in North America is something we’ve spoken about in the past and while this is a key renewables pillar for the country, it’s also focusing on a budding offshore wind sector.

What is the future of the renewable energy jobs market?

It’s expected that if current increases continue, worldwide employment in renewable energy will sit at 38.2 million by 2030 – an increase of 25.5 million.

While this would require front-loaded investment and represents an incredibly ambitious forecast, it would mean the overall number of jobs in the energy sector rising to 139 million, with more than 74 million across industries such as energy efficiency, electric vehicles and power systems.

This represents a huge ceiling and a sector that could provide plenty of opportunities for skilled professionals. 

At AD Energy, we specialise in sourcing and placing talent across renewable energy sectors including biogas, biofuels, solar and electric vehicles. If you’re looking for a renewable energy job in the market, get in touch with our consultants today.

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