Paris, 8 Sep. Employment in the energy sector in the world has already surpassed the pre-crisis level and this year the growth will accelerate, with a progression of 6% that will further increase the relative weight of clean energy, which has become more than half of the total.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) published this Thursday a first study on employment in the sector, which employed 65.7 million people in 2019, just before clean energies passed the symbolic threshold of 50%, a percentage that will increase even more in the coming years.
Of those 65.7 million, 2 % of global employment, hydrocarbons accounted for 18.2 million (8 million for oil, 6.3 million for coal and 3.9 million for gas), biofuels for 3.3 million and electricity for 19.8 million.
To this was added 13.6 million in vehicle manufacturing and 10.9 million in jobs linked to energy efficiency.
If electricity generation is taken in isolation (11.3 million jobs), renewables in 2019 weighed in at 6.8 million. Leading the way was solar PV (3 million), followed by hydro (1.9 million) and wind (1.2 million).
Asia-Pacific accounted for more than half of global energy employment and is the region with the fastest growth. China alone already accounted for 30 %, with 19.2 million in 2019, compared with 7.9 million in North America and 7.5 million in Europe.
The strong 6 % increase in employment projected by the IEA for this year, after 2 % in 2021, is explained by the 8 % pull in investment to $2.4 trillion, although almost half of that rise is going to be swallowed up by inflation.
In the longer term, the expansion of clean energy is expected to continue whatever the scenario. If the agency's own scenario of zero net carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050 is achieved, 14 million clean energy jobs would be created by 2030.
Not to mention the fact that another 16 million workers would change jobs to take on other functions also related to clean energies.
The authors of the study emphasize that around 45% of the workforce in the energy sector are high-skilled workers, a much higher percentage than in the economy as a whole (25%).