The Call for Diversity Hiring: Renewable Energy Boom Faces Shrinking Talent Pool

The Call for Diversity Hiring: Renewable Energy Boom Faces Shrinking Talent Pool


Despite the global pandemic, the renewable energy sector was one of the few industries that experienced an increase in demand in 2020. Policy deadlines in key markets fueled international renewable capacity expansions to almost 280 GW in 2020 – the highest year-on-year growth in the last 20 years. And this growth is expected to be maintained, with 270 GW becoming operational in 2021 and 280 GW in 2022.


At the same time, the clean energy space is experiencing unprecedented talent and skills shortages causing many talent acquisition leaders to wonder how they will fill critical roles to meet ambitious expansion plans. In the U.K. alone, close to 200,000 skilled workers will be needed in the offshore energy industry by 2030, according to a recent report by the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen.


"There's a war over talent globally," Miguel Stilwell, chief executive officer at Portuguese clean-energy firm EDP Renovaveis SA said in a recent interview with Bloomberg. "The renewable sector, given the massive amount of growth that is expected, doesn't have enough people."


The Call For Diversity Hiring


One way to combat diminishing talent pools now and in the future is for renewable energy employers to make a concerted effort to hire with diversity in mind. Failing to do so may put organizations at risk for meeting growth targets and exceeding performance objectives.


What's more, the industry already has a severe diversity problem – akin to what we've seen across tech. And this lack of diversity jeopardizes women, Hispanic and Latino workers, and Black workers to lose out on one of society's next great economic expansions. 


According to a recent report by nonpartisan group E2, racial and ethnic minority groups account for nearly 4 in 10 clean energy workers, and women represent less than 30% of all workers in the sector. In addition, black workers are underrepresented by nearly 40%, comprising just 8% of U.S. clean energy workers. 


Like other job markets, the pandemic has deepened inequities in the clean energy industry – particularly for women. Since 2017, the overall share of women in clean energy has fallen from 29% to 27%. 


Moving The Needle On Diversity Inequities In Renewable Energy


The aforementioned report by E2 provides several steps workers, businesses, and communities can take to drive greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the renewable energy workforce.


For Workers



For Businesses



For Communities