Green hydrogen jobs: the professionals the sector is looking for

16 February, 2024

The energy sector’s greatest challenge lies in the energy transition. This involves not only the shift towards cleaner or renewable energy sources but also the task of acquiring the necessary skilled professionals to drive this change. An estimated 2.5 million jobs are expected to be created over the next six years under the European Green Pact, according to the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Cedefop). At a global level, Manpower extends this figure to 30 million in sectors related to the energy transition.

Faced with this new challenge in these sectors, human capital is essential. Professionals with academic qualifications, experience, creativity, and a strong commitment to businesses and the sector will effectively lead the energy transition through what are known as green jobs.

2.5 million jobs will be created over the next six years under the European Green Pact

What do green hydrogen professionals study?

The renewable hydrogen sector is growing and generating a great demand for specialised professionals, both in technical and management training, research, regulation or at a commercial level. This energy vector is so important that the European Union aims to produce ten million tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030 and import an additional ten million tonnes from third countries. In this scenario, the role of human talent will be crucial.

Studies such as the one conducted by the consultancy firm Worldwide Recruitment Energy identify which profiles are most in demand in the sector. Some of them are:

– Engineers in general and, specifically, chemical engineers. They are professionals needed to design, develop and implement solutions based on green hydrogen. Also to explore alternatives such as the efficient use of batteries for the storage and utilisation of this energy.

– Business development and commercial experts. They are tasked with identifying, evaluating, and seizing market opportunities, forming strategic partnerships, overseeing projects and clients, and driving innovation and competitiveness within the industry.

– IT specialists. They are responsible for applying information and communication technologies to the hydrogen sector to improve its efficiency, reliability, safety and sustainability, and also to enable the active participation of consumers and prosumers (energy producers and consumers).

– Professionals specialising in the installation, operation, and maintenance of hydrogen systems.  They are responsible for ensuring the proper functioning, quality and safety of hydrogen-related equipment and infrastructure, such as electrolysers, recharging stations, hydrogen vehicles or smart grids.

– Researchers and developers in renewable energies. Professionals who investigate new sources of clean energy, such as tidal, CSP concentrated solar power, organic solar or nuclear fusion, while also exploring ways of integrating them with green hydrogen.

– CSR expert. This profile acts as a strategic advisor who accompanies the top management of companies during the process of planning, implementing and monitoring corporate social responsibility policies. For the energy sector, including the green hydrogen sector, this is a highly sought-after role due to the growing interest of companies in integrating ESG (environmental, social and governance) criteria.

– Specialist in energy law and regulation. The emergence of alternative energy sources like hydrogen calls for professionals with an understanding of diverse legal frameworks, markets, and policies to navigate and adjust to the evolving landscapes of production, transmission, storage, and consumption.

These positions require professionals who are highly qualified, committed to continuous training, and adept at adapting to change. The majority of projects that need these professionals are in stages of development, growth, or transformation. Consequently, soft skills like creativity, communication, teamwork, leadership, and a results-driven approach are highly valued.

The EU plans to produce ten million tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030

New careers in renewable energies

The energy transition has generated a great demand for specialised training, both at university level and in vocational training. Some of the new careers that have emerged in this field include the following:

– Master’s Degree in Hydrogen and Fuel Cells. This master’s degree offers advanced, multidisciplinary training in key technologies for the energy transition, such as clean and efficient alternatives for the generation, storage and use of energy. The master’s degree designs, develops and implements solutions based on hydrogen and fuel cells, both for the generation, storage and use of energy and for sustainable mobility.

– Degree in Energy Engineering. It trains professionals capable of designing, managing and evaluating energy systems, with special emphasis on renewable energies, energy efficiency and environmental impact.

– Degree in Environmental Sciences. It trains professionals capable of analysing, diagnosing and solving environmental problems. The curriculum provides understanding of various energy sources, including both traditional and renewable, along with insights into energy efficiency, environmental impact, and relevant regulations. There are numerous career paths for graduates, with many linked to public service roles, such as managing natural habitats (to control invasive species), or roles in the environmental quality departments of private companies, managing environmental certification processes, or providing consultancy services and conducting environmental impact assessments.

– Master’s Degree in Renewable Energies and Energy Sustainability. This is a specialised and constantly updated course in the field of renewable energies. Graduates will acquire the skills to plan, implement and monitor renewable energy projects, focusing on technological innovation, integration into the energy system and economic and social sustainability. As in the previous cases, graduates will find professional opportunities in private enterprise or public administration: research centres, public regulatory bodies or in companies that manufacture or install renewable energy machinery.

– Advanced Vocational Training in Renewable Energies. It trains professionals capable of installing, operating and maintaining renewable energy systems, such as wind, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, biomass or hydro. Career opportunities focus on the installation and maintenance of renewable energy installations or the control of these installations.