SEADS 2023 Thematic Session


Jobs of the Future: Building Diversity into the Net-Zero Transition

Organizers: Asian Development Bank, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia, Save the Children, and
The Westin Resort, Nusa Dua / Bali and Online (Hybrid) 
30 March • 14:00–15:30 GMT+8/ Bali Local Time


  • Scene Setter: Lenny Rosalin, Deputy Minister for Gender Equality, Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, Indonesia
  • Shaheen Chughtai, Regional Advocacy and Campaigns Director-Asia, Save the Children
  • Giulia Ajmone Marsan, Director, Strategy and Partnership, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia
  • Prateek Hegde, Chief Operating Officer, Asia–Pacific, Generation
  • Marija Ralic, Lead, Asia–Pacific, Google 
  • Dini Indrawati Septiani, Country Director, Indonesia, Asian Venture Philanthropy Network
  • Moderator: Adisti Sukma Sawitri, Managing Editor, Jakarta Post 
  • Master of Ceremonies: Veronica Joffre, Senior Gender and Social Development Specialist, ADB


The transition to net zero will require a rethinking of our energy systems and economic models at large. This includes scaling up renewable energy and energy efficiency, green finance, technology/ digitalization, and a supportive policy environment. Skills will be at the core of this transformation: this large enterprise will in turn need a diverse workforce with the education, training, and skills critical to drive the rapid transition to a low-carbon economy. At the same time, it is critical for different groups in society to acquire and develop the skills needed for this transformation to avoid only certain groups of individuals to benefit and others to be excluded from the green labor markets of the future. The session will discuss challenges and opportunities in ASEAN to promote diversity of the workforce with a focus on the policies, education programs, and private sector engagement needed for accelerating the net-zero ambition.


The net-zero transition will require significant investments in infrastructure, energy efficiency, and clean technologies, which could create job opportunities in sectors such as construction, manufacturing, and engineering. The renewable energy sector alone could create up to 42 million jobs globally by 2050, of which 6.7 million jobs are in Southeast Asia alone.[1] [2] However, this will require investments in education and training to build the workforce needed to fill these jobs. This may include training programs for engineers, technicians, and other workers in the renewable energy sector, as well as reskilling programs to help workers transition from fossil fuel industries to renewable energy.
In addition to developing new skills, labor market inequalities must be addressed to promote diversity and to spread the benefits of the transition. This may involve targeted training and education programs for underrepresented groups and programs to create good quality jobs with fair wages and working conditions. Gender equality, in particular, is crucial for the success of the net-zero challenge. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change but often face barriers to accessing education, training, and employment opportunities in the green economy. Women in the ASEAN region are generally underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields.[3] [4] They also make up only 27% of the total energy sector workforce, and are largely represented in lower-paying and less secure jobs. This gender imbalance is a barrier to achieving a sustainable and inclusive energy transition.[5]
Overall, accelerating the development of a diverse workforce to undertake the net-zero transition will require coordinated efforts from governments, the private sector, educational institutions, and other stakeholders. This will involve investing in education and training, addressing labor market inequalities, including gender inequality, and ensuring that workers are equipped with the skills needed for a low-carbon economy.


The discussion aims to highlight the importance of ASEAN human capital development strategies and workforce development programs to meet the need of an accelerated transition to net zero. The session aims to:

  • Discuss the importance of diversity in relation to the jobs required for the net-zero transition, including efforts to increase the representation of women in key sectors, such as energy, and in technical and leadership roles.
  • Explore ways in which the skilling, upskilling and reskilling of the workforce can be undertaken in inclusive ways and at the speed necessary.
  • Discuss the role of technology and digitalization in such efforts.
  • Gain insights on emerging initiatives, opportunities, and forward-looking strategies to open spaces for young people to speak up and lead the way on climate action and just transitions.
  • Explore the gap in policy measures and best practices to increase diversity in the workforce to accelerate the transition to net zero in ASEAN.

[1] International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). 2020. Global Jobs in Renewable Energy. Abu Dhabi.
[2] ERIA (2023),, Jakarta.
[3] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2018. Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in Southeast Asia. New York.
[4] ERIA (2021),, Jakarta.
[5] IRENA. 2019. Renewable Energy: A Gender Perspective. Abu Dhabi.

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