There Will Be More New Jobs in Solar Than Oil by the End of the Year

April 20, 2016, 2:00 PM UTC
Views Of Home Solar Panel Installation
Workers Stephen Janota, left, and Matt Bart, install Solar Service Inc. photovoltaic (PV) solar electric panels on the roof of a home in Park Ridge, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013. Solar panels are the next granite countertops: an amenity for new homes thats becoming a standard option for buyers in U.S. markets. Photographer: Tim Boyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Photograph by Tim Boyle—Bloomberg via Getty Images

The world’s biggest oil companies are slashing jobs to cope with decreasing revenues, and one knock-on effect has been the drop in oil job postings.

Conversely, however, if the current pace of postings hold, solar would become the largest market for energy jobs by the fourth quarter of 2016, according to numbers tabulated by Indeed, the world’s highest traffic job site.

According to data provided to Fortune, job postings for the solar industry currently make up 39% of global energy-related work on Indeed, whereas oil jobs account for 50%. (Indeed declined to release the actual job posting figures.)

But that relationship is changing—over the past two years, oil job postings are declining by around 12.6% every quarter, while solar jobs are dropping at an average of 1.7% per quarter.

At this rate, solar will overtake oil for job postings by the end of the year:


“The decline in oil prices has not just rocked that industry, but jobs linked to both fossil fuels and renewable energy,” said Tara Sinclair, chief economist at Indeed. “Whether or not solar overtakes oil on Indeed, energy workers would do well to position themselves for work in renewable fields such as solar, wind, and hydroelectricity.”

This corresponds with a recent report by The Solar Foundation that highlighted the rapid growth of the U.S. clean energy sector. By the end of this year, the solar sector should have 240,000 workers under its wings, and currently employs around 77% more workers than the coal mining industry.


The world’s largest oil companies, in a battle to fight the effects of a 60% plunge in oil prices over the past 18 months, have been brutally cutting jobs. BP (BP), sixth on the Fortune 500, said it would cut 7,000 jobs by 2017, or almost 9% of its workers. Late last year, Chevron (CVX) said that it would cut 10% of its workforce, or 6,000 to 7,000 jobs.