It seems that the recent successes in the emerging renewable energy market has had a hugely positive affect on employment on a global spectrum. Clean energy employment rose to over 8 million in 2015, as listed in a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency. This includes 769,000 employees in the US, which is a particularly booming market for solar and wind energy.
The US in particular, is slowly growing away from the direction of the oil and gas sector, with employment figures in oil and gas only amounting to 187,000 people in 2015. This difference in proportion is expected to expand even further, with renewable energy job opportunities increasing by 20% in 2015, whilst jobs in oil and gas decreased by 18%, a figure greatly influenced by the current strains on the oil and gas market.
Despite the US’s success in the renewable sector, Europe’s total jobs fell in 2015. Europe as a whole invested more of its subsidies into fossil fuels as opposed to clean energy. This is the fourth year that the European Union’s renewable energy employment has dropped due to lack of government support. According to the report, the UK employed £112,000 renewable professionals in 2015 and it also states: “The UK became the continent’s largest (solar panel) installation market, and the second-largest (solar) employer with 35,000 people.”
Solar PV had the most influence on the increase on renewable energy jobs, being the largest employer in the renewable sector and providing 2.8 million clean energy jobs. It’s no surprise that China was responsible for 60% of that figure, being the renewable energy leading country. However, the US and Japan followed close behind and also operate booming clean energy markets.