How do hopes for offshore wind jobs measure up?

Men driving sheep Farming is thought to employ 65,000 people directly

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Predictions were made last week that Scotland's offshore wind industry could create 28,000 direct jobs and 20,000 indirectly by 2020.

The figures were contained in a report commissioned by Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Renewables.

Currently 463 people are directly employed in the sector in Scotland.

Jenny Hogan, director of policy at Scottish Renewables, said the research confirmed that the area could become one of the biggest employers over the next 10 years.

A previous report for the organisation suggested 5,300 jobs could be created in Scotland by 2020 from projects harnessing wave and tidal power.

But how do the hoped-for job numbers compare with other key industries in Scotland?

The exploration for and extraction of oil and gas employs 34,000 directly, according to Oil & Gas UK.

Within the wider supply chain, the body estimates there are about 230,000 workers and a further 89,000 jobs supported by oil workers' spending.

Scotland has the largest share of the jobs with about 195,000.

Oil & Gas UK has also estimated that in 2008 about 450,000 jobs in the UK had a connection with the industry.

The public sector is another of Scotland's biggest employers.

Public sector union Unison Scotland alone has 150,000 members working in fields such as local government and health.

Farming directly employs about 65,000 people, according to NFU Scotland.

However, its "best estimates" suggest that for every agricultural worker another three jobs benefit from what they produce.

Fishing - once a massive employer in Scotland - provides employment for up to 15,000 people, according to the Scottish Fishermen's Federation.

But each of these established sectors is facing huge challenges in terms of declining resources and financial constraints.

For job hunters, the emerging marine renewables sector could be the new hope.

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