January 24, 2022

Climate Careers: The transition from fossil fuels to low carbon jobs

Oil and Gas Exploration

With the accelerated rise of sustainable and environmentally conscious jobs, the high-carbon industries are gradually diminishing from our economy. The volume of professionals working on fossil fuels is declining as countries turn their attention towards climate action.

UK government ministers have launched their strategy to reach net-zero by 2050, which intends to generate over 400,000 new green industry jobs by 2030. Many professionals have moved from a carbon-intensive industry to a greener alternative. Oil industry workers are aware of the environmental impacts of oil and gas and its influence on achieving a net-zero future.

The impact of the fossil fuel industry is influencing career choices and decisions with what sector to pursue. For many people, the green side of their jobs may not necessarily be the main priority. One of the most critical elements is overall job security and working conditions. Some people will openly admit that environmental factors may not be their biggest concern when changing jobs. However, the green industry presents significant opportunities for growth and development, particularly in comparison to the fossil fuel industry.

In truth, people are actively looking for secure jobs with favourable conditions. So a role that includes these benefits and is associated with the green industry is advantageous. Providing the relevant training, continued support from the government and further investment are critical steps in the transition towards a green economy. As we continue to move towards a green industry, the volume of high carbon jobs will inevitably dwindle.

There is a developing shift in attitudes towards the high carbon industries. People generally seem more interested and respectful of those working in industries that have a beneficial impact on our climate and the environment. There is a genuine interest in these markets and how these jobs contribute to a positive future.

Shifting to a net-zero society without leaving people behind is a significant challenge. Many oil industry workers are ready for the changes, but some believe the oil and gas market is slowing the transition.

Professionals working in fossil fuels require readily available alternatives to move to another industry. Skills from this industry are vital in climate action and future sustainable development plans. Many people in the oil industry, including offshore workers, have considerable skills relevant to the renewable energy industry, especially working on offshore wind farms.

While many of the leading oil companies are investing in the energy transition, there continues to be a dominant reliance on fossil fuels and ongoing oil exploration activities. The government must implement specific decarbonisation plans, which the industry can apply and use to deliver long-term goals. Continued collaboration between industry, government and other organisations is critical in matching workers experience and skills to new job opportunities. These changes will inevitably require further training and reskilling, as there is some reluctance from the green industry to consider oil industry professionals.

As we continue to move away from fossil fuels, we need to ensure we utilise the abundance of skilled and experienced talent within the industry to accelerate the transition towards net-zero and ensure no one is left behind on this journey to a green economy.