Green energy drive offers bright spot

Green energy drive offers bright spot


Renewables are powering a rare bright spot in the energy industry, with record job hiring in solar, wind and hydro partly offsetting the biggest round of job losses in the oil and gas sector in almost two decades.The boom in new green jobs is being led by Asia where governments in countries such as China and India are embarking on massive programs to use more renewable energy.The fresh opportunities come as the oil sector is suffering its worst downturn since the late 1990s, encouraging engineering students to rethink their options and even mid-career switches for some who have spent more than a decade in the oil sector.”It’s a matter of time for me personally before I make the move,” said a Singapore-based project manager for offshore construction at an oil and gas firm, who is considering shifting into solar after 15 years in the oil sector.”For me, it’s not a question about running out of oil, but that the industry is losing popularity on the consumer end,” said the manager, declining to be named due to his current employment status.Direct and indirect employment in renewable energy jumped 18 percent, or by about 1.2 million, last year to 7.7 million globally, with most of the new jobs being created in Asia, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).Some of the biggest gains have come in countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Bangladesh and the overall figure could top 16 million globally by 2030, IRENA said.

That stands in contrast to oil and gas, where more than 200,000 jobs have been cut worldwide since oil prices collapsed last year, according to recruiter Swift Worldwide Resources.The petroleum sector employs nearly 6 million, with more than ten times that number indirectly employed, according to International Labor Organization estimates. The latest job losses mark the biggest drop since the last big oil price slump of 1997-98.

“The employment situation is a complete disaster,” said Didier Le Hech, who until recently headed operations in Gabon, West Africa, for Weatherford International (WFT.N).Le Hech, who was one of 11,000 staff laid off at the oil field service provider this year, said he was looking for work in Southeast Asia, but given the tough market was prepared tocast his net widely.


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