The reskilling gap: Finding talent in the energy transition

The International Energy Agency (IEA) anticipates that clean energy technologies will create 14 million jobs by 2030 and another 16 million in other areas of the green economy such as constructing energy-efficient buildings and the manufacturing of new energy vehicles.

While the creation of new jobs is vital for economic growth and our journey towards net-zero, training those who work in these fields to upskill is an urgent challenge for policymaker, businesses, and educators. It is estimated that in the next few years, there could be five million people who currently work in the fossil fuels industry that eventually lose their jobs and will not be readily able to sway into new industries. 

This is because green job opportunities will likely be in separate locations to people’s existing roles and may require alternative skill sets. At the same time, a changing climate will exacerbate inequalities and disrupt jobs in other sectors, such as agriculture.

UK’s Energy Sector

Recent analysis from PwC has revealed that the UK’s energy sector is likely to have a gap of around 200,000 skilled workers by 2030, due to planned retirements and poor forethought for upskilling and reskilling. Under Boris Johnson, The Government created a Green Jobs Taskforce, featuring representatives from businesses, trade bodies, education, and NGOs.

In 2020, they produced a 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution. In 2021, The Taskforce published one major independent report bringing together evidence on the skills needed for our transition to net zero. It sets out the Taskforce’s recommendations for how government, industry, the education sector alongside other stakeholders can work together to grasp the opportunities of a green industrial revolution and meet the challenges of supporting high carbon sectors, their workers and the communities they support through the transition to net zero.

PwC’s head of regions, Carl Sizer said: “The big challenge will be finding additional workers outside the energy sector to build the clean energy labour force needed for net zero. The opportunity is to create highly skilled jobs in locations that may currently lack these.”

Sizer also noted that this is an opportunity to get more women, and others from demographics currently under-represented in the UK’s energy sector, trained up. A 2021 report by PWC found that women hold just 21% of executive positions in the energy sector and that when positions at all levels are covered, less than 19% are estimated to be held by women.

Allaying job loss fears, Sizer reasons that “While the shift to green energy is as significant as the industrial revolution, job loss should be far less this time round. Rather than face an abrupt cliff edge, workers will see their roles become greener over time, many should be able to stay in the same company, while others will reach retirement age.”

The global energy transition offers an opportunity to upskill thousands of workers this decade if policymakers and businesses put the necessary steps in place to support these changes.

The reskilling gap: Finding talent in the energy transition
Blog Info
Spencer Ogden
31 JUL 2023
Share this blog