Global renewables professionals remain upbeat over the sector’s prospects despite the challenges of the Covid pandemic, buoyed by policy support for emissions reductions and the pace of technical innovation, said a major study of energy employment trends.

Two-thirds of workers surveyed for the annual Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) believe renewables are resilient to the economic challenges presented by the pandemic, with more than half expecting “strong growth” over the next three years.

The optimism is underpinned by policies across the world to drive the energy transition, and the new opportunities created by technological advances, said the GETI report produced by international workforce solutions provider Airswift and recruitment company Energy Jobline.

“In the past year, we have seen oil majors and Fortune 500 companies pivoting towards renewables. It adds to the excitement about the future of the sector. It’s got momentum, and that is reflected in the survey’s positive growth outlook,” said Airswift CEO Janette Marx.

GETI claims to be the world’s largest annual survey of energy sector salaries, questioning 16,000 workers in 166 countries.

The 2021 report says despite the pressures of Covid, 35% of professionals reported getting a pay rise in 2020, against 16% seeing a decrease, although that was less rosy on salaries than last year’s report.

Two-thirds of the respondents expect a pay increase in 2021, reflecting the general optimism in the sector.

Renewable energy has since the start of the global pandemic in early 2020 been identified as one of the sectors likely to emerge in good shape, partly thanks to plans to channel huge government stimulus funds into 'green recovery' plans.

However, the sector has also felt short-term pain, with major markets such as the US reporting heavy job losses as the pandemic delayed project completion.

Marx said: “There is no denying that this has been a challenging year for the energy industry, and Covid-19-related instability is certainly being felt by the workforce. Yet the energy transition leaves renewables businesses well positioned to grow over the coming years.”