SCOTTISH renewables jobs soared by two-thirds between 2015 and 2022 –while oil and gas jobs dropped by 36% over a similar period.

New analysis by Global Witness shows that, according to latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) estimates, Scotland’s renewable energy jobs rose by 67% between 2015 and 2022.

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%, according to Scottish government data.

The National: Oil rig

READ MORE: Renewables investment in Scotland threatened by UK pricing plans, warns expert

The increase in renewables jobs is significantly greater in Scotland than across the UK as a whole. Global Witness analysis earlier this month showed that UK renewables jobs increased by 29% since 2015, while UK oil jobs – both onshore and offshore – dropped 28%.

The figures contradict claims made in Westminster and Holyrood that oil and gas licensing secures jobs.

Global Witness fossil fuels campaigner Alexander Kirk 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.”

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 next week.

READ MORE: SNP confirm support for continued use of fossil fuels

According to the ONS data, Scottish jobs producing renewable energy – including onshore and offshore wind, solar, and hydropower – increased from 4700 in 2015 to 8000 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 the same, as overall offshore British jobs dropped 27%.

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.

Scottish Greens MSP Maggie Chapman said the climate crisis needs a "bold and transformative response". She said: 

"Clean, green renewable jobs are crucial to building an economy that works for people and planet.

"This week's stark Climate Change Committee report showed how big the task ahead of us is, and how urgent it is that we shift from polluting fossil fuels to green industries. 

"But of course, a fair and just transition isn't just an environmental necessity, it's also a huge economic opportunity.

“Scotland’s oil and gas sector employs some of the most skilled workers in the country, and it is those workers and communities, like those in Aberdeen and the North East, who can drive forward the green change that is so crucial.

“The climate crisis is the most significant crisis we will ever face. It needs a bold and transformative response. We don’t have time to waste on half measures.

“The progress we have seen in growing the renewables sector is vitally important, and we must redouble our efforts to ensure it is at the heart of our vision for a fairer, greener Scotland.”

A Department for Energy Security and Net Zero spokesperson said: “Positioning this as a simple choice between oil and gas or renewables jobs is wrong.

“Many of the skills in the oil and gas industry will be crucial for the green transition and communities in Scotland will be at the heart of the green industries of the future, such as carbon capture.

“We’re backing oil and gas through annual licensing rounds, providing certainty for up to 200,000 jobs and generating billions in tax revenue.

"This is alongside attracting renewable investment, with companies announcing plans for £24 billion low carbon investment since September alone.”

Scottish Conservative shadow cabinet secretary for Net Zero, Energy, and Transport Douglas Lumsden MSP said: “It comes as little surprise that jobs in the oil industry are decreasing when the SNP have been very open on their presumption against any new developments.

“The policy of the SNP and Labour to turn the taps off immediately is an economically and environmentally illiterate choice and will put 100,000 jobs at risk, leaving our oil and gas employees with no choice but to look elsewhere.

“Instead of blindly rushing towards their unattainable Net Zero goals, the SNP should set out their plans for a measured transition that will preserve the jobs in our oil and gas industry and provide some security for its employees.”

The Scottish Government and the SNP were approached for comment.