NEW Global Witness analysis shows Scotland’s renewable energy jobs rose by 70 per cent between 2015 and 2022, according to Office of National Statistics (ONS) estimates.

In contrast, between 2015 and 2021 – the last year for which data is available – jobs in Scotland’s oil and gas sector dropped by 36 per cent, according to Scottish government data.

The increase in renewables jobs is significantly greater in Scotland than across the UK as a whole. Recent analysis showed that UK renewables jobs increased by 29 per cent since 2015, while UK oil jobs – both onshore and offshore – dropped 28 per cent.

The figures contradict claims made in Westminster and Holyrood that oil and gas licensing secures jobs. The UK government’s Offshore Petroleum License Bill, which mandates annual licensing of new oil and gas fields, enters its Second Reading in the House of Lords this week.

According to the ONS data, Scottish jobs producing renewable energy – including onshore and offshore wind, solar, and hydropower – increased from 4,600 in 2015 to 7,800 in 2022.

Between 2015 and 2021, jobs supporting oil and gas dropped from 21,300 to 13,600, according to Scottish government statistics. This does not include people working offshore because the jobs are not disaggregated by UK nation. However, the trend is likely to be the same, as overall offshore British jobs dropped 27 per cent.

The decline in Scottish oil jobs over the last six years has occurred despite massive spending by oil companies, which paid over £130 billion to build and operate North Sea fields between 2015 and 2022, according to Global Witness analysis of Rystad Energy data.

Alexander Kirk, Global Witness Campaigner said: “The UK’s oil and gas sectors are dying in a cycle of ever-shrinking returns. Despite more than £130 billion spent since 2015, the oil industry continues to shed jobs at pace.

“Officials frequently use larger oil and gas employment numbers, using unverified figures published by a fossil fuel industry lobby group, Offshore Energies UK. The real jobs figures are clear. Oil and gas investment doesn’t translate into new jobs – but investment in renewables increasingly does.”

* Renewable energy production jobs data is drawn from ONS, Low carbon and renewable energy economy, UK: 2022. Only job categories producing renewable electricity have been counted: onshore and offshore wind, solar, and hydropower. Data estimates full time equivalent positions. Access the data here.

* Oil and gas production jobs data and methodological explanations are drawn from Scotland’s Marine Economic Statistics 2021. Data includes “support activities for petroleum and natural gas extraction” but not extraction of oil and gas, as this data is reported only for the UK as a whole. Access the data here.

* Source: Global Witness