The world saw a significant rise in global energy sector employment in 2022, fueled by increased investment in clean energy technologies. The second edition of the World Energy Employment report indicates that the number of jobs in the global energy sector reached 67 million people in 2022, marking a substantial increase of 3.5 million from pre-pandemic levels.
Clean energy industries, including solar PV, wind, electric vehicles (EVs) and batteries, heat pumps, and critical minerals mining, accounted for over half of the employment growth. Solar PV, in particular, emerged as the largest employer with 4 million jobs, while EVs and batteries experienced the fastest growth, adding well over 1 million jobs since 2019.
Notably, jobs in fossil fuel industries also increased year-on-year, but the rebound has been more restrained, leaving fossil fuels below pre-pandemic levels. Clean energy employment now represents over half of total energy sector jobs, surpassing fossil fuels since 2021.
The rise in clean energy jobs was a global phenomenon, with China, home to the largest energy workforce, contributing the largest share of added jobs globally. Clean energy expansion is also generating upstream jobs in critical mineral mining, adding 180,000 jobs in the last three years.
However, the report highlights a challenge as energy industries face skilled labor shortages, with workers pursuing relevant degrees or certifications not keeping pace with growing demand. This is particularly evident for vocational workers specialized for energy-sector work and professionals in science, technology, and engineering.
IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol emphasizes the need for governments, industry, and educational institutions to implement programs addressing the expertise gap in the energy sector. The report underscores that clean energy transitions are creating millions of new job opportunities globally but emphasizes the urgency of filling these positions to meet energy and climate goals.
The growth in clean energy jobs is expected to continue, outweighing declines in fossil fuel roles in all IEA scenarios. The report suggests a global energy sector pathway consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5 °C, creating 30 million new clean energy jobs by 2030. As part of a just transition, policy makers are urged to focus on job training and capacity building to ensure the benefits of energy transitions reach as many people as possible.