The green energy sector is expected to result in the creation of a number of career paths in the country, including some that don’t even exist yet.
Already in 2023, South Africa has experienced a surge in vacancies for green energy jobs, reflecting a notable shift towards sustainable energy alternatives in response to the ongoing energy crisis.
The increase in these job opportunities is a direct response to the pressing need for sustainable energy solutions due to the shortcomings of mainstream commercial power providers, explains Paul Byrne, head of insights at CareerJunction.
“We anticipate continued growth as new jobs are born out of the demand to service the green energy sector. This is being forced by our need to find sustainable energy alternatives because of the failings of Eskom; the demand is accelerating.”
This trend, he says, is not just about existing green energy jobs, but the birth of entirely new industries and opportunities. From maintenance, repair, and manufacturing of energy systems to research and development aimed at enhancing the efficiency of solar technologies, the green energy sector is destined to drive multifaceted growth.
“We see the impact going as far as the finance industry as companies develop and market more affordable payment solutions for otherwise expensive installations. And so, the list goes on.”
The increase in green energy job opportunities mirrors South Africa's efforts to combat the energy crisis. Households and businesses that can afford to install alternative energy solutions are increasingly doing this to avoid the inconvenience of load shedding; individuals and businesses in positions to afford alternative energy solutions are swiftly adopting these to circumvent the inconvenience of scheduled – and unscheduled power outages and reduce reliance on traditional energy providers, Byrne says.
“Government is not the driver here. This acceleration into the future of our greener energy is purely driven by our need to find alternatives to a failing monopolistic system.”
The transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources aligns with broader global sustainability goals while the urgency in South Africa stems from a dire need for a reliable power supply. While the momentum towards a greener economy is accelerated by necessity, he says the government is gradually joining the movement. However, its heavy reliance on fossil fuels to maintain the current power supply complicates achieving sustainability targets.
Ultimately, the future of green energy jobs in South Africa looks promising.
“As we learn more about how to harness and manage green energy, we are going to see a spin-off of jobs that probably don’t even exist today. Companies have to focus on zero emission targets and their ECG scores. This is driving change. Not only is this drive going to be important for securing future business but also future talent.”
Byrne adds that job seekers are placing a growing importance on the reputation of companies that they consider working for, and that this evolution isn’t just pivotal for business success but also in attracting, recruiting, and retaining talent. Job seekers increasingly value a company's purpose, culture, and its commitment to career development, setting the stage for long-term environmental sustainability efforts.