If we only look at the employment prospects, 2021 was a great year for renewables. A newly published report from the US Department of Energy reports that almost every sector of the green sector has increased the resources used. Conversely, the oil and gas sector had another robust decline in employment (some companies as high as 12%), despite an increase in production. An ecological transition, but also a working one.
In total, jobs in the energy sector have grown by around 4%: we are talking about 300.000 more workers. A good result, which masks the losses on the "fossil" side: oil and coal companies have lost almost 40.000 workers.
Does ecological transition equal occupational transition?
The growth of “green transport” has had significant effects on the labor market, revitalizing in many cases also industries in the automotive sector which had seen a reduction in employment over time. A good sign, which, however, must be contrasted with some incontrovertible data.
First: a large part of the energy sector is still in bad shape: apart from the automotive sector, no other sector is higher than the pre-pandemic levels. And in terms of energy production, only wind power "blows" stronger winds than in 2019.
For this reason, the trend could be temporary, and not confirmed this year. With open conflict in Ukraine causing fossil fuel prices to skyrocket, employment levels could regain strength alongside supply.
Aside from the contingency, however, the general picture says that this transition will consolidate. Renewables will end up "draining" the jobs currently occupied by companies in the fossil industry.
Improvements in clean energy solutions and energy efficiency initiatives to build a more sustainable and resilient future will take the lion's share over the next 10-20 years.