14 Jun 2023
Almost 70,000 additional jobs needed for offshore wind between now and 2030; report calls for strategy to ensure skilled and diverse workforce is available.
A new report by the Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) shows a significant increase in jobs in the offshore wind sector by 2030 – with forecast jobs exceeding 100,000 for the first time, and a dramatic surge of workers required over the next seven years. To manage the expected offshore wind project pipeline, the industry needs to be able to attract and retain an average of 10,000 people per year. The report features recommendations for achieving this and calls for an industry workforce strategy to be established, identifying that a new approach to recruitment and retention is vital to support the huge upcoming pipeline of work.
The industry is set to employ 104,401 people by 2030 to meet current targets – an increase of 6,936 since last year’s forecast.
The UK’s existing offshore wind workforce has increased to over 32,000 – up 4% compared to the end of 2021. This includes over 17,000 direct jobs and nearly 15,000 indirect jobs. In the short-to-medium term, a rapid growth in jobs is needed as several offshore wind farms progress to the construction phase – 88,509 jobs are forecast to be required by 2026, which is over 56,000 more than today’s workforce.
The Government has set the industry a target of reaching 50GW of capacity of 2030, including 5GW of floating wind – up from the 13.66GW of connected offshore wind energy today. To ensure there is a skilled workforce available to support the sector’s expansion, the report calls for a strategy to tackle skills shortages in key areas such as planning and consenting, high voltage electrical technicians, engineers, turbine technicians, and those with a range of digital skills. The report also calls for STEM engagement with young people on future career options to ensure the continuation of a skilled workforce for the next generation.
The industry has committed to increasing the proportion of women working in offshore wind. This has grown by 4.6% since 2019 to 20.6% of our workforce, as we move towards a target of 33% agreed with the Government in the Offshore Wind Sector Deal. The report notes that whilst this is positive, there remains much work to be done to ensure the sector reaches a better gender balance in the future.
We are also making progress on ensuring that our industry becomes more diverse in terms of ethnicity. 7% of our workforce are from non-white backgrounds, compared to 3.8% in 2021. We have committed to meet the target of 9% of workers from ethnic minority backgrounds in 2030, and we are aiming for a more ambitious stretch target of 12% if possible. The report highlights the requirement for employers across industry to better measure, act on and communicate diversity data.
We have surpassed our Sector Deal target of 2.5% of our workforce being apprentices, as this proportion has now reached 2.6%, an increase of 0.6% on last year’s results.
Speaking at RenewableUK’s Global Offshore Wind 2023 conference which opened today in London, Graham Stuart, Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero, said:
“As has been set out just this morning, the 100,000 jobs in this industry by 2030 is remarkable when you think about the number and opportunities that provides, and the kind of areas typically where these are found, many in the areas where we seek as a government to level up to ensure that economic opportunity is to be found everywhere. We know talent is equally shared around the country but economic opportunity isn’t always and offshore wind can play a part in that as well”.
Richard Sandford, Co-Chair of OWIC, said:
“When I first started my career, I trained as an apprentice at a coal-fired power station at the Central Electricity Generating Board, but when I moved into offshore wind 15 years ago, I knew I’d found my place in the energy transition. My own journey is testament to how much power generation has changed over the past few decades – but the offshore wind sector needs many more people in the short, medium and long-term to power ahead. All of us – across industry and Government – need to work even closer together to develop a bold new strategy that attracts all the skills we need to surge ahead as fast as possible.”
Jane Cooper, Director of Offshore Wind at RenewableUK, said:
“Our report highlights the central role that offshore wind is playing in the UK to deliver green power. We are already supporting tens of thousands of highly skilled jobs around the country. However, to ensure we can meet the existing ambition, it’s essential for us to work right across our own industry, across adjacent industries with transferrable skills, and with the next generation, to make offshore wind an attractive career choice for people from the widest range of backgrounds and with a whole variety of different skill sets.”
For further information, please contact:
Sam Willstead, Communications Officer, Offshore Wind Industry Council, RenewableUK. Sam.Willstead@renewableuk.com
The report was produced by the Offshore Wind Industry Council working with data analysts Opergy Group, and the National Skills Academy for Rail which developed the Skills Intelligence Model used in the research.
The Offshore Wind Industry Council (OWIC) is a senior Government and industry forum established in 2013 to drive the development of the world-leading offshore wind sector in the UK.
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