The early gender advantage of renewables could be lost


There is a risk that efforts to improve gender equality in renewable energy will fail unless companies begin to play an “active role” in promoting diversity, it has been warned.

According to Clir Renewables’ software, although green energy is ahead of conventional energy and technology in terms of gender balance, the industry has its work cut out for it to maintain that.

A report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in 2019 found that around 32% of renewable energy employees were women, compared to 22% across the energy sector as a whole.

But, Clir Renewables said the industry’s early advantage could disappear as it becomes more difficult to recruit enough women into the “already small pool” of talent in renewable energy.

To ensure the industry continues to improve its gender balance, the Vancouver-based firm recommended that green energy companies vigorously promote diversity and fairness in recruitment, as well as leadership opportunities.

This would help “entrench” equality at all levels, meaning it could keep pace with the growth of the renewable energy industry in the years to come, Clir Renewables said.

Bronwyn Sutton, the company’s offshore director, said: “I am proud to be part of a company that champions diversity from day one. As an industry, we have an excellent opportunity to define a culture that expects and promotes gender balance at all levels of the company, from management at board level to engineering teams on field.

Clir Renewables, alongside other organizations such as EDF, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Orsted, is committed to the Equal by 30 initiative, which aims for equal pay, equality of leadership and equal opportunities for women in the clean energy sector by 2030.

Currently, 40% of Clir Renewables’ engineering team and one-third of its board of directors are women.

Gareth Brown, CEO of the company, said: “There is already such a gap between the number of roles needed to support the growth of renewables over the next decade and the pool of engineers and data scientists with industry experience.

“At Clir, we play an active role in promoting inclusion throughout the recruitment process, from the language of our job postings to directly reaching talented women not only in renewable energy, but also in other sectors. A wide range of experiences is essential to ensure that we can address concerns from a variety of perspectives and, ultimately, to ensure that renewables provide a just transition for all.

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