The global energy sector is facing a well-documented skills shortage, as experts in specialist fields such as renewables remain in short supply and high demand. But, if the UK and other countries around the world are to meet ambitious greenhouse gas emissions targets to tackle the global climate crisis by developing clean energy systems, it is clear that organisations will have to look beyond the limited talent pool of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) graduates to fill their roles. As well as providing their own people with the training they need, they will inevitably need to look outside their sector too if the sheer scale of demand is to be met.
With energy organisations having to grapple with acute skill shortages, we take a look at some of the key areas where there is the greatest demand for talent in the sector and consider the wider talent pools employers and recruiters can tap into to find the specialist resources they need.
In demand renewable energy skills
From wind power, solar, energy storage and geothermal energy, there are different sectors that require a broad range of specialist skills needed for the various construction, development, installation, operation and maintenance of project phases. Engineers, whether mechanical, electrical, electronics, civil or industrial are always in high demand as are energy analysts and sales roles within commercial energy companies.
While a STEM background is a definite advantage for renewable energy roles, employers have been increasingly looking for potential new recruits who have a passion for green energy and sustainability. And this is where transferrable skills can be utilised. Those with softer skills – individuals who excel in leadership roles, have good project management abilities or analytical and strategic thinkers, for example – have attributes that can be beneficial in energy roles. They might have all of the softer skills needed for the role, but are missing one or two of the technical attributes needed. The latter can be developed in a new role to suit the niche requirements.
With this in mind, energy employers need to reconsider what skills are crucial in a role, what can be trained and which skills are easier to plug through individual development programmes.
Attracting transferrable skills into the energy sector
As for the sectors where energy businesses can find suitable transferable skills, the oil and gas industry is at the top of the pile with many skilled workers able to use their skills and transition into other specialisms, including renewables. While the climate crisis hasn’t shut down oil and gas completely, it has created a shift in investment areas, with increasing budgets being channelled into renewables.
Whether working in an engineering or geology discipline, in a production or operations management role, as a computer control programmer, in a health and safety or a compliance capacity, these are all skills that can be transferred across to other global energy sector jobs.
Operations and general managers, supervisors and inspectors from a construction background can also bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the energy sector. Energy and utility companies will also be looking for data science and data analytics experts to provide the insight needed to forecast asset performance. They will need people to lead and implement their digital transformation programmes and experience in AI and machine learning will also be increasingly requested. Innovation is the lifeblood of the industry, so creativity and problem-solving are also key skills. And these abilities do not need to be limited by sector boundaries.
Tech experts are utilised across almost every sector and energy employers need to look beyond the industry to find and engage with these resources.
Building a powerful EVP
In order to attract and retain top talent in the energy sector, organisations must have a clearly defined employee value proposition (EVP). As well as offering competitive salaries and rewards packages, they must not only offer opportunities for long term development and skills training but also flexible working, which jobseekers have come to expect in the Covid world. Fundamentally, however, how their employer brand is perceived by those outside of the sector will dictate a firm’s ability to hire the best talent.
Employers need to take a step back and ask themselves if they are attracting under-represented and minority groups? What about the number of women in STEM roles across the business? Could this be improved? Do you have a diverse and inclusive culture that allows everyone to be themselves and receive the same opportunities to succeed? Do you have strong health and safety and environmental records? Jobseekers, both within the energy sector and beyond, will be looking for evidence of the above and it’s crucial that employers can demonstrate this if they are to attract transferrable skills.
In the hot jobs market of 2022, the onus is on employers to stand out. By developing a robust EVP that’s aligned to their employer brand, energy companies can win the talent war, not just in attracting the best, but also in retaining those key skills and individuals to propel their future growth.
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