Analysis by the National Grid and the UKs target to reach net zero carbon by the year 2050 has discovered that around 120,000 jobs will need to be created and filled in the energy sector by 2030 and about 280,000 jobs on top of that by the year 2050.
The research was published at the end of January by the national grid. It was conducted by a partnership with Development Economics and who are developing a report on ways in which to create a workforce ready for a net zero future. The report looks into how electricity is distributed throughout the UK and the ways it is being generated and used and ensuring that it will be following the recommendations from the Committee on Climate Changes.
From the given recommendations the report is then able to look into how the UK energy sector needs to change to meet the demands. The main findings from the analysis is that there are roughly 140,000 workers in the industry who will no longer be working in the industry in 30 years’ time and on top of that 260,000 new jobs will need to be created.
The extra 260,000 jobs in the industry will be required to construct the lower carbon infrastructure, upgrade current infrastructure and decommission the older higher carbon infrastructure within Britain.
The 140,000 jobs that need filling will be in a variety of fields, some of these include manufacturing, engineering, research and development, trade and logistics.
The national grid has also warned that nearly 30 per cent of the 400,000 jobs will need to be filled in the next 10 years, otherwise it will inhibit the UKs ability to reach the long term legally bound climate targets. The next 40 per cent of jobs will need to come in the decade after this one whilst the remaining 30 per cent can be filled from the years 2041 to 2050.
The geographical locations of the new jobs could also lead to a potential boom in economy for the North and East of England, along with Scotland and is this is where a large majority of jobs will need to be filled. This will also help the nearly 77,000 skilled oil and gas workers situated in the north as they will need to be searching for new jobs due to the reduced demand for fossil fuels.
The National Grid predicts that nearly 50,000 jobs with net zero related skills will need to be filled in Scotland by the 2050 deadline.
The executive director of the national grid, Nicola Shaw, stated that even though the UK is moving in a very positive direction there is still a very long way to go in achieving net zero. She believes that even though 400,000 is a very high number it is what’s needed to help the UK reach its target.
However, there are still many hurdles remaining to reach this target.
Statistics from the office for national statistics show that there has been a slight decrease in jobs in the energy sector in the last 6 years. The national grid believer there are 4 key challenges in getting more people into the energy sector. These include a large number of workers retiring and leaving the industry by 2050, competition with other industries such as technology and banking, a small feed of young people coming through with STEM backgrounds and a lack of women working in the sector (currently around only 8 per cent).
These challenges need to be solved quickly in order to increase recruitment and therefore fill the 400,000 required jobs by 2050.