The impact of renewable energy on job creation in the United Kingdom.

Blog Renewable Jobs-1

When the government set out its aim of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the UK became the first country in the world to set such a target into law.1 

If it’s going to meet it, making the transition to renewable energy from traditional, often imported, fossil fuels is crucial. With concern about climate change on the rise, sustainability has become an everyday consideration. And when it comes to our careers, renewables are rapidly becoming a major catalyst for job creation. In fact, growth in green jobs is now increasing around four times as fast as the overall UK employment market.2 All the more reason to think about making your next career move an eco-conscious one.

Get to know the UK renewable energy industry.

The term ‘renewable energy’ covers all the power we generate from naturally replenishing resources. That includes solar power, wind power (onshore as well as offshore), hydropower and biomass. Add to these some fascinating emerging technologies like marine energy (tidal and wave) and green hydrogen, and we’re talking developments at the cutting edge of science. 

Back in the year 2000, renewables accounted for just 2.8%3 of all electricity generated in the UK. But by 2022, a record 40% came from renewables4, and wind was the second largest source of electricity (26.8%) after gas.5 That same year, a summer heatwave meant solar power also saw a rise to 4.4%, with biomass accounting for 5.2% and hydro 1.8%.6

How many jobs is the renewables industry creating?

Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) highlight the remarkable levels of job creation happening within the renewables sector. In 2022, green jobs in the UK were estimated at around 639,400 full-time equivalents (FTEs). That’s 8.4% higher than in 2021, and an amazing 19.9% increase on 2020.7

But if you’re thinking the only job openings are highly technical, think again. Renewable energy offers a diverse range of employment opportunities, and it’s not only the frontline roles that drive growth. 

True, there’s a healthy demand for the engineers, project managers and technicians who design, install and maintain renewable energy systems. But there’s also an increasing number of roles for professionals in fields like marketing, sales, customer service and finance – not forgetting in human resources, to support this booming sector. That means, regardless of your career background or skill set, there's a good chance of a promising role in the renewables industry for someone with your talents and experience. 

The impact of new renewable energy jobs.

A growing industry needs a growing workforce, which alone can have a wide-ranging impact on communities. But a renewable energy project can also invigorate the local economy, creating new jobs and boosting demand for services. Fresh talent brings new ideas, and every new job in the sector has the potential to generate positive ripples, both economically and socially. That’s a welcome bonus while you’re also improving the nation’s energy security.8

Of course, sustainability is at the core of every new renewable energy job. So anyone who joins the industry is helping to bring the UK a step closer to meeting its sustainability commitments. And in terms of job satisfaction, the goal of a cleaner environment for future generations should be a source of pride for everyone working towards it.

What is renewable energy?

Wind. Solar. Hydroelectric. Biomass. Renewable energy has taken root at the heart of the climate conversation. But how much do you actually know about renewable energy?

The Independent’s Decomplicated series, in partnership with E.ON Next, explores the renewable energy transition on the road to net zero, and answers fundamental questions relating to renewables, such as where it comes from and how it is harnessed.

Starting a career in renewable energy.

Sound appealing so far? If you're ready to play your part in this exciting transition, here are some ideas on finding job opportunities in the renewables sector.

How do I get a job in the renewable energy field?

  • Whilst getting a foot in the door calls for a mix of preparation and proactive engagement, the right education and training can provide valuable skills and credentials. 

  • Organisations like the Renewable Energy Association (REA)9 run workshops and courses that can help you acquire background knowledge that marks you out as someone serious about the industry. 

  • Any opportunity for making connections is worth pursuing – so look out for industry events, job fairs and online platforms where you can meet professionals in the field. 

  • Never underestimate the power of volunteering. Lots of renewable energy projects welcome passionate, committed volunteers, willing to give their time and learn the ropes. 

  • Above all, start putting in those applications now! Look out for roles bearing some similarity to your current one, or one you did previously. The renewables sector benefits from people transferring their skills from other industries.10 

  • Be sure to flag up the job satisfaction you expect to gain from working towards a cause you’re passionate about. Showing both enthusiasm and a willingness to adapt can work in your favour.

What skills do I need to work in renewable energy?

That depends on the particular job you’re seeking. But remember that an obvious passion for renewables could be the deciding factor when it comes to securing a position. So if you have an environmental conscience and are genuinely eager to be part of the solution, you’re in a strong position.

Let's say for example you’re chasing the role of engineer in the renewables sector. Typical recruitment requirements might include:

  • A degree in a relevant engineering discipline (e.g. Mechanical, Electrical or Civil).

  • Experience in designing, installing and/or maintaining renewable energy systems.

  • Strong problem-solving and project management skills.

If you can offer some or all of these, that’s a great start.  

Join the positive energy, start your career at E.ON Next.

As the UK’s renewable energy revolution accelerates, fulfilling career choices are opening up nationwide. And perhaps we’re biased, but E.ON Next is a great place to start a career. We offer apprenticeships, as well as jobs suited to candidates keen to challenge the status quo. People who think a little differently, who want to make a positive impact. 

Check out our current opportunities for both apprenticeships and full-time positions. But wherever your job search takes you, there’s a warm welcome waiting for the right candidates in the world of sustainable energy. 

Start your search today! 

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Published 11/06/2024