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Australia’s renewable energy jobs – recruitment thoughts


A lot of the discussion I’m seeing in the renewables space, defending the RET, has been focusing around job creation. The Clean Energy Council, in their Sep 2014 briefing paper, estimates that any cut to the RET puts around 21,000 jobs at risk.

I spoke to Michael Green briefly this morning, from the Bradman Recruitment Group about renewables jobs in Australia to unpack this issue a little bit more.

The RET has, he says, been quite vital to the establishment of the industry from a jobs perspective. Since Abbott’s government started making noise about the review of the RET, investment in the industry effectively froze, as did recruitment. Business is starting to pick up again. The small scale sector hasn’t been affected, but solar utility scale jobs have been badly affected. Wind not so much.

While RET may have been the trigger for initial growth in this sector, there are other market supporters at the moment, including progress and increasing interest in storage systems and technologies.

What’s important to recognise is that there are jobs created that are not directly attributable to renewable energy, but that these come about through the development of a new sector, such as financial positions. These indirect jobs are harder to quantify, but they are nonetheless buoyed up by a thriving renewables industry.

I mentioned that in South Africa there’s a lot of interest from people in moving from existing sectors (say those working on typical infrastructure projects) into renewables, as it is a vibrant, young and ‘feel-good’ sector, and he agreed that this is also present in Australia. It has, however, been thwarted by unstable messages and plans from government, and he himself has previously cautioned people choosing to enter the field. Now, he feels, there is a bit more stability for people wishing to start a career in renewables. This links with the concern that Muriel Watt expressed when I met with her.

Michael also mentioned that international pressure has a role to play in Australia’s energy future, and the recent messages coming from the Pope regarding climate change could lead to some interesting discussions – particularly given that Abbott is catholic.  An internal conundrum there?

Thank you to Michael for your time this morning.