Both the UK and Irish governments have committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050. If this is to be achievable it will mean a massive boost in green tech jobs. Research from the UK's National Grid suggests that 400,000 jobs will need to be filled to reach these targets. The proactive climate attitudes of the workforce align well with these targets - a recent YouGov poll shows that 83% of jobseeking women and 73% of men are looking for roles that help tackle climate change. And with Ireland's Climate Action Plan 2019 setting out major retrofitting projects and increasing energy usage to 70% from renewable sources, the demand for workers to fulfil these roles is critical.
Jill Shaw, executive director of the National Grid said "Our research shows that to deliver net zero, the energy industry needs to recruit hundreds of thousands of people over the next thirty years - and that really is the tip of the iceberg in terms of the wider impact of net zero across other industries. The time is now for the sector to rise to the challenge and overcome the long-standing issues we face in recruiting a diverse workforce with the right skills to deliver on the UK's ambitions." These challenges include retirement in the workforce, reskilling of the current workforce, and crucially attracting more women into the sector, encouraging them to study and qualify in STEM sectors.
We can see from the YouGov poll that women are extremely motivated to pursue careers that have a positive environmental impact, therefore matching these aspirations to roles for women in the energy industry seems a logical next step. David Wright, chief engineer at National Grid, said "We must harness women's motivation and do more to attract them into a sector they've historically turned away from." Initiatives like the Woman in Tech Awards, launched by the Dublin Tech Summit, are clearly designed to attract women into the STEM sector, celebrating achievements, shining a light on role models and offering essential networking and mentoring opportunities.
The EV industry boasts a number of prominent female leaders. Emma King, senior purchasing manager for EV battery cells is at the forefront of Ford's dramatic modernisation plan, which includes an $11 billion investment in electric vehicles by 2022. Anja Hendel, Director of the Digital Lab at Porsche, is tasked with transforming the traditional sportscar company into a leader in the EV sector, by tapping into blockchain and quantum computing technologies. Awareness of these key female players is vital if the industry is to turn around current figures. In January 2020 a Catalyst Study found that women are under represented in the automotive industry across all regions globally, with over half of the top 20 automotive companies having zero women on their executive teams.
Without doubt this new era in technology, renewable energy, and the changing face of the car industry will produce a huge amount of new roles, and reskilling opportunities across all sectors. To fulfill such demand, women are needed to take roles in STEM led positions at a greater level over the long term.