OECD: Shortage of Skilled Workers Jeopardizes Energy Transition

by | 15. Mar 2023 - 14:10 | Economy

Proportion of green jobs varies greatly from region to region, women underrepresented.

The energy transition is accompanied by a great demand for critical raw materials, and the calls for secure supply chains for lithium, cobalt or rare earths are becoming correspondingly louder. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is now sounding an additional alarm, as climate protection targets could be additionally jeopardized by a shortage of qualified workers.

The proportion of workers in “green” occupations in the 38 OECD member states has only risen from 16 percent in 2011 to 18 percent in 2021, it said. The organization defines “green” as occupations in which 10 percent of the tasks contribute directly to sustainable development. The OECD also notes regional trends, with the proportion of green jobs typically much higher in cities than in remote regions. The latter are much more affected by the loss of jobs in the course of the energy transition, and this applies to the coal industry, for example. More support through further training is therefore needed to prevent social upheaval, they say.

Women are also underrepresented in green jobs, making up only 28 percent of the workforce in these sectors. The OECD is urging that the causes of this be investigated, because increasing the proportion of women in STEM subjects (mathematics, information technology, natural sciences and technology) is not only a question of equality, but also a way to alleviate the shortage of skilled workers in the professions needed for the energy transition.

Photo: iStock/anatoliy_gleb

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