Rystad Forecasts Massive Offshore Wind Hiring Boom

Nearly 900,000 jobs by 2030, primarily in shoreside manufacturing roles

rotterdam wind
Expanded offshore wind terminal at the Port of Rotterdam (Port of Rotterdam Authority)

Published Feb 23, 2021 2:20 PM by The Maritime Executive

An offshore wind hiring boom is on the way, according to consultancy Rystad Energy. 

In a new forecast released Tuesday, Rystad predicts that worldwide demand for offshore wind personnel is going to triple by 2030, reaching about 590,000 full time jobs by 2025 and 870,000 full time jobs by 2030. The current industry employment count stands at about 300,000. 

The boom is based on expectations that the installed base of offshore wind capacity is going to expand dramatically over the coming 10 years. Rystad forecasts worldwide installations totaling 110 gigawatts by 2025 and 250 gigawatts by 2030 - an unprecedented expansion that will require thousands of skilled workers and mariners. 

The prediction includes direct and indirect jobs, and is calculated as the number of person-years of full time employment (regardless of hours worked). 

The overwhelming majority of positions will be in construction and development, with windfarm-building jobs accounting for about 88 percent of the total by 2025 and 80 percent by 2030. The majority of capex for an offshore wind farm occurs in the one to three-year period leading up to commissioning, and this is the most labor-intensive period of an installation's lifecycle. As the offshore wind construction boom is expected to continue until mid-century, according to forecasts by DNV and many others, the total global number of construction jobs will likely remain high for an extended period.  

The overwhelming majority of these roles will be on shore. Manufacturing of turbines, cables, substations and tower foundations accounts for about 66 percent of the total, and installation accounts for just 10 percent. 

In the northeastern United States - the birthplace of the North American offshore wind industry - the offshore wind projects that are currently committed to development are expected to create 2,600 job-years of "supplemental" work for local fishermen and mariners, according to a recent study by the UK-based Renewables Consulting Group.

“Fisherman and other mariners already possess the skills that will be essential in building out the emerging US offshore wind industry,” said Emily Kuhn, principal at RCG. “With minimal training needed to close gaps and transfer knowledge, recruiting these fishermen and mariners to assist with projects can benefit all sides. Not only will mariners have access to supplemental jobs and income, but the offshore wind industry will have increased access to a local, talented workforce.”