Recruiters operating in the energy sector will have no doubt faced a challenging couple of years, as Covid-19 - and associated restrictions – disrupted business operations and hiring activity globally. What’s more, as we begin to emerge from the pandemic, businesses are feeling the effects of what has been dubbed the ‘great resignation’. That is, employees who reassessed their priorities during lockdown, or stuck with an employer only because job opportunities were thin on the ground, are now handing in their notices in droves.
As a result of this environment of uncertainty, if you are looking to actively grow your energy recruitment firm, there has never been a better time.
Businesses across Britain and beyond are crying out for candidates. In fact, official figures from the ONS show that the number of open vacancies across all sectors has now reached 1.22 million for the first time ever in the UK. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), meanwhile, has reported that a third of companies are now worried that a lack of workers will limit economic growth, representing the highest share since the mid-1970s.
Elsewhere, the latest Recruitment Index, from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) in conjunction with Saffery Champness, shows that over 75% of recruitment leaders across all sizes of staffing firms believed that they had sufficient funds and borrowing facilities in place to fund future growth plans.
In today’s candidate-short market, there are plenty of prospects for firms to successfully gain market share. Those with a strong track record specialising in providing recruitment solutions for oil and gas firms, in particular, have a huge opportunity to expand further beyond fossil fuels to meet changes in demand as we transition to clean energy sources.
However, while agencies might have the ambition to grow – and the cash in place to facilitate this development – knowing where to direct your energies and resources can be tricky.
Here are four ways that recruitment agencies which focus on energy roles can boost business development in today’s uncertain market.
Expand your focus
Given recent changes in market conditions, now is a great time to expand your focus beyond the roles and geographies you have traditionally focussed on. This may mean targeting roles for project managers or asset managers, moving into executive search, or expanding your range of consultancy services - for example, by offering tailored support around workforce diversity.
It is also a great time to explore new and growing markets such as the Middle East or North America. APSCo’s data suggests that 66% of recruitment leaders had an appetite for overseas expansion, in 2021, with 26% confirming that their desire to expand internationally had increased since the previous year. Act now, and you are likely to be one step ahead of your competitors.
Responding to employer demand may also mean shifting the way you advertise roles, source candidates, and actively recruit so that your strategies mirror a post-pandemic wholesale move to remote working. The physical location of applicants is now less relevant than ever – for those energy roles that can be done at least in part in a remote way, of course. Embrace this change and you will widen your talent pools exponentially.
Engage to widen audiences
Demand for talent acquisition services has exploded in recent months, but energy applicant availability remains a challenge for many. In order to identify and tap into fresh talent pools – especially where passive candidates are concerned – a solid engagement strategy is needed.
Focus resources on maximising the effectiveness of social media channels to ensure that you are not only promoting open vacancies to a wide audience, but also enhancing your brand profile across the market more generally. You way also want to consider hosting events - such as energy career fairs, summits or roundtables - either virtually or in person, to grow your networks rapidly. Taking this approach is also a great way to tap into new communities which are underrepresented in the energy sector, such as females and disabled people.
Offer more compelling packages than your competitors
Businesses operating in the energy sector are competing hard for candidates, and while salary alone is unlikely to draw high quality applicants to your clients, it is, of course, a significant factor.
In recent months, a growing number of desperate firms have been attempting to lure top talent with attractive sign-on bonuses. However, a professional recruitment firm can add most value to clients by helping to develop data-backed compensation packages, based on real market insights. By offering competitive rates, energy firms and the agencies they partner with can remain competitive in the market.
Alongside remuneration, recruiters should also work closely with clients to promote company culture and other perks such as generous holiday allowance, rewards for great performance, or even more unique perks such as the ability to bring pets to work (where Health and Safety allows).
Focus on skills-based hiring to grow your energy recruitment firm
Finally, specialist staffing agencies can expand rapidly by thinking outside the box and working with clients to reassess what skills and experience are really necessary for each role. For too long, employers have focussed too narrowly on what they are looking for in applicants, and this inhibits access to great people. The market is changing swiftly – with areas including offshore wind and energy storage growing rapidly – and by focusing on skills-based hiring, talent pools will expand quickly.
Last year's Energy Outlook Report, launched on 30th November 2021 found that 74% of energy workers would consider switching to a role in another sector. When asked which sectors they’d pursue employment opportunities in, those working in Oil and Gas said renewables (56%), compared to 38.8% last year. Similarly, those working in renewables are the most likely to have shifted into this sector within the past 12 months (51%).
Meanwhile, research from EY suggests that around 70% of jobs in oil and gas have at least partial overlap with skills in low-carbon industries, such as solar energy and wind energy. The same report also found that the vast majority (92%) of energy executives agree that ‘our ability to reskill as a company will determine our success over the next three years’.
Against this backdrop, staffing firms which specialise in energy roles have a huge opportunity to expand their operations – and turnover – by facilitating the cross-pollination of skills between contiguous sectors to meet changes in demand as we continue to move towards a carbon-neutral world.
There have never been more opportunities to grow your energy recruitment firm. Direct your energies strategically, and you have the opportunity to reap the benefits of ongoing staff shortages to thrive in a post-pandemic labour market.
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