PEOPLE & SKILLS

Our new research shows that the number of people working in direct and indirect jobs in the UK’s world-leading offshore wind industry is set to rise significantly, from 26,000 currently to over 69,800 by 2026. Most of the jobs will being created in parts of the country which urgently need levelling up, including the north east of England, Yorkshire and The Humber, East Anglia and Scotland.  

 

The private sector will invest £60.8bn billion across the UK over the next five years in developing, constructing and operating offshore wind projects as the industry expands rapidly to help the Government to achieve its net-zero emissions goal. The average annual investment will be £10.1bn between 2021 and 2026, and investment in 2026 alone will reach a peak of £10.6bn. 

 

The Offshore Wind Skills Intelligence Report was commissioned by OWIC’s Investment In Talent Group which was set up as part of the landmark Offshore Wind Sector Deal agreed with Government in 2019. The work has been done by RenewableUK, the National Skills Academy for Rail and independent data analysts Opergy Ltd.

The Industry Chair of OWIC Danielle Lane, UK Country Manager for Vattenfall, said:

 

“The UK offshore wind industry employs thousands of people in parts of the country which other sectors fail to reach and which need levelling up the most. This month GE Renewable Energy announced that it will open a massive offshore wind turbine blade manufacturing plant on Teesside, transforming a former steelworks site into a high-tech clean energy powerhouse and boosting our innovative UK supply chain.

 

We offer opportunities to people from all backgrounds and with qualifications at every level to work in an industry which is playing a crucial role in tackling dangerous climate change, enabling us to meet the Government’s net-zero emissions target as fast as possible." 

The survey is by far the most comprehensive ever conducted in the UK into the full extent of the economic benefits of offshore wind. For the first time, it includes direct and indirect jobs as well as self-employed people who make up 14% of the total workforce. 

 

Researchers have compiled the most detailed offshore wind jobs database by inputting thousands of data points from companies of all sizes, mapping where people are employed, what type of work they do and how the workforce will expand over the next five years. Of the 69,848 jobs by 2026, 40,700 will be direct (nearly 60%) and 29,148 will be indirect (in companies supplying other industries as well as offshore wind). 

 

The highest percentage of responses came from supply chain companies (39%), reflecting the importance of the UK offshore wind supply chain in job creation. 29% came from offshore wind farm developers and operators. 27% were from UK companies involved in manufacturing specialist products for the sector (Original Equipment Manufacturers or OEMs).  

 

Over 80% of offshore wind jobs are currently located outside London and the south-east. Scotland currently has the highest proportion (30%), Yorkshire and The Humber has 15%, the northeast of England 10% and the east of England also has 10%. Our forecast shows that regional percentages will be maintained at this level as jobs increase over the course of this decade, providing sustained long-term growth in these areas.  

 

The wide range of jobs includes engineers, project managers, software designers, component manufactures, turbine technicians, welders, deep-sea divers, boat crews and helicopter pilots. 79% of these jobs are highly-skilled, technical and management roles. Apprenticeships make up 1.8% of the UK workforce, half of which are in Yorkshire and the Humber. The industry has committed to raising this to 2.5% as soon as possible. 

The offshore wind industry is looking in particular to fill vacancies for electrical engineers, civil engineers, project managers, surveyors, data analysts and digital specialists in roles based onshore as well as offshore. 

 

At present, women make up 18% of the workforce and the industry has committed to increasing this to at least one-third by 2030 – and to reach a stretch target of 40% if possible. Read the full press release.

The Offshore Wind Sector Deal is an ambitious, long-term strategy. By 2030 offshore wind will provide over one-third of the UK’s electricity and the workforce will triple in size. Many of these jobs will be highly skilled and in coastal communities. The industry is working to improve its gender and ethnic diversity, increasing the number of apprentices, employing former armed forces personnel and developing an Offshore Energy Passport to facilitate movement into the industry.

We're committed to increasing the representation of women, and those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, to ensure our workforce properly reflects the communities we serve. In partnership with The Equal Group, our Investment in Talent Group have created a best practice guide to help businesses and companies ensure their workplaces are accessible and attractive to those currently under-represented in the sector, and a charter for supporting women in the industry.

For further information, support and resources, please explore the below list of initiatives and organisations:

Association for Black and Minority Ethnic Engineers, BAME Apprenticeship Alliance, BAME Girls in Engineering (Bristol University), Entrepreneurial Women in Renewable Energy (E-wire), POWERful Women, Pride in Energy, STEMETTES, STEM Women, SWITCH, The Women’s Engineering Society (WES), Women in Energy (EnergyUK), Women in Energy (WiE), Women into Manufacturing and Engineering (WiME), Women in Renewables Association, Women in Sustainability, Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), Women in Wind (GWEC), Women Offshore