Jobs in the nuclear power generation and oil and gas in the United States pay more than jobs in renewables, a wages report showed this week, as the Biden Administration pledges to create thousands of clean energy jobs.
While all jobs in energy pay higher than the national median hourly wage of $19.14, workers in the nuclear industry get a median hourly wage of $39.19, those in natural gas pay $30.33, coal jobs pay a $28.69 hourly wage, and oil jobs pay $26.59, according to the new report from the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO), the Energy Futures Initiative, and BW Research Partnership.
In comparison, hourly wages in wind and solar are $25.95 and $24.48, respectively, while jobs in energy efficiency and storage excluding fossil fuels pay even less—$24.44 and $24.36, the report found.
The nuclear, electric power transmission and distribution, natural gas, and coal industries support the highest wage premiums compared to the national median—all four industries support hourly wages that are at least 50 percent higher than the national median hourly wage, the authors of the report wrote.
“While the energy sector was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the energy industry lost fewer jobs compared to other sectors of the economy, such as Tourism, Hospitality, and Recreation, Information and Communications, Retail, and Building and Design,” the report says.
It also noted that deeper investigation is needed for a comprehensive understanding of the jobs that will be created, lost, and changed during the energy transition.
In the United States, thousands of oil and gas jobs disappeared during the oil price and demand crash last year, and more and more former oil workers moved to jobs in the clean energy business. However, they have also taken a pay cut moving to renewables as the industry still pays lower than oil and gas.