Young people should focus on renewables for future – new North East Scotland poll

27/03/24 | News release
News release polling graphic

Young people in North East Scotland should focus their careers on renewable energy, more than half of adults in the area believe.

Polling released today (March 27) asked 'If you were giving advice to a young person, which of the following sectors, if any, would you propose they focus their career on?'. Almost twice as many said renewables than any other choice.

The survey found 52% made the industry their top career pick for young people, beating eight other choices including healthcare (27%), oil and gas (24%) and finance (23%).

The development of offshore wind projects off Scotland’s east coast will mean billions of pounds of investment and tens of thousands of jobs. Other renewable energy technologies also provide opportunities, alongside the transition to heat pumps and building the pylons and substations needed to transport power to consumers.

Emma Harrick, Head of Energy Transition and Supply Chain at Scottish Renewables, the industry body which commissioned the polling, said:

"The renewable energy industry is already doing much of the heavy lifting in reducing Scotland’s carbon emissions. Indeed, the Climate Change Committee points out that electricity supply was one of only two sectors to reduce emissions in 2021.

"This warning will damage the confidence of international investors at a time when we need their help to build out the renewable energy projects which will to secure our energy supplies, tackle climate change and deliver social and economic growth across Scotland.

"Time is running out for Scotland’s 2030 goals. We urge the Scottish Government to work collaboratively with industry and stakeholders to deliver a stable and predictable policy environment and maintain investor confidence to realise Scotland’s full potential as a net-zero powerhouse."

Renewable energy technologies like wind, tidal, hydro, solar and their supply chains support more than 42,000 jobs and generate more than £10.1 billion of output for Scotland.

Last year (Sept 2023) a report by Robert Gordon University found that the UK offshore energy workforce can increase by up to 50% from around 150,000 in 2023 to 225,000 by the end of the decade, with new renewable jobs outnumbering oil and gas roles if a successful transition is achieved.

Research from Xodus in 2023 forecasts growth of 22% in energy sector roles by 2030 – that’s more than 73,000 jobs – and that work related to expanding the electricity grid could mean a further 50,000 new jobs by 2030.

The new Scottish Renewables polling also found that almost half of people in North East Scotland (46%) think the Scottish Government should accelerate renewable energy development to tackle climate change.

Emma Harrick continued:

“Every gigawatt of renewable energy which we build creates 1,500 jobs – quite simply, deployment equals employment. And these are projects we already need to secure our energy supplies and tackle climate change.

“In this polling we specifically focused on North East Scotland as the place where the energy transition is most evident, and one of the many places in which renewables will continue to grow. What people there have told us is clear: they think the Scottish Government should act to accelerate renewables, because that’s where they think the future of the region’s young people lies.

“The North East of Scotland has a foundation of energy expertise and know-how and exciting opportunities lie ahead for the region that will continue to make the most of the energy industry for years to come.”



  • Free to use image of Emma Harrick available, here.
  • Full results of the survey questions referenced in this media release are available here. The survey of 1,004 people was conducted via online interview by Survation on behalf of Scottish Renewables. Fieldwork was conducted between the January 3-30, 2024. The data were weighted to the profile of adults 16+ in the North East Scotland Scottish Parliament region. Data were weighted by age, sex and council area. Margin of error is 3.4%.
  • Statistics on renewable energy’s contribution to Scotland’s economy are available on Scottish Renewables’ website.
  • Robert Gordon University’s Powering up the Workforce report is available on its website.
  • Xodus’ UK Energy Jobs: Seize the Opportunity report is available online.
  • The 1GW/1,500 jobs statistic is explained in this media release.