The Renewables industry is an exciting place to work, but with so much change across the globe as a result of the pandemic, the opportunities that job seekers may have been considering a year ago are likely to be very different.
So, what lies ahead for the future of renewables and workers in the renewable energy sector? Energy recruitment expert, Spencer Ogden, has completed vast research into that very topic. Here’s everything you need to know.
A second shot at the 2020 vision
The renewables industry was in an exciting, albeit challenging position at the beginning of 2020 with large scale global energy projects already planned to take place in what was set to be one of the most significant years in the shift towards a carbon-neutral future. Then, the pandemic hit.
Industrial energy consumption fell but residential energy consumption soared. While many industries temporarily stopped, the energy sector persisted. However, clean energy and renewables projects were severely hindered by logistical challenges, including restricted access to skilled workers.
While the pandemic isn’t over, the last few months have given the industry a chance to adapt. As such, 2021 offers a chance to finally progress with the 2020 vision.
Oil and gas sectors shifting towards renewables
The shift from oil and gas to renewable energy sources such as solar and wind has been noted around the globe, which has been underlined emphatically in the early days of Joe Biden’s presidency in the US. America’s lead will naturally encourage improvements elsewhere, and the future of renewables in Europe will be heavily influenced by the actions of oil and gas plants.
While their presence is set to last, there is a conscious desire amongst them to reduce the carbon levels to zero - or as close to that figure as possible. Key findings from Spencer Ogden include the fact that 64% of companies believe the shift will benefit the oil and gas industry while 70% are already redeploying resources from beyond renewables.
Renewables and the growing demand for skilled workers
The renewables energy industry grew at a rapid pace and was on the cusp of a huge moment before the pandemic struck. The path to a carbon-neutral world will resume in 2021 and beyond, but this is reliant on access to highly skilled workers. This is something that business owners and execs within the sector have become increasingly aware of and are eager to address.
From solar energy to onshore wind and offshore wind power, the growth of the industry has surpassed the rate of new workers joining the industry. According to Spencer Ogden, this has created a major headache in relation to skills availability with recruiters citing Senior Level Expertise (40%), Project Management (26%), and Specialist Renewable Skills (also 26%) as the three chief shortcomings.
While it does pose potential stumbling blocks for the industry’s progress as a whole, it puts skilled workers in a particularly powerful position. In fact, even Junior positions are cited as being hard to fill by 6% of European recruiters. When combined with the fact that new jobs will enter the hundreds of thousands each year for the foreseeable future, there has never been a better time for workers to transition into the fields of solar or wind power.
Those sentiments are echoed by the fact that governments in several major European countries have actively encouraged workers to train or retrain for jobs in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) sectors.
Renewable energy industries and integration with other sectors
Energy is consumed in large quantities on a daily basis by virtually every person, household, and business in the developed world. Naturally, the goal of renewable energy companies is to become equally ubiquitous as traditional energy companies have been over the past few decades. There is a growing acceptance that better relationships with other business sectors will be required to make it happen.
Due to the lack of skills availability, companies in the global renewable industry have regularly turned to candidates with transferable skills from across other renewables (23%) or energy (also 23%) specialisms. However, a significant number have looked to external agencies and contractors while staff development is a regular feature too.
Essentially, businesses in the solar power and large-scale renewables industries appreciate that new roles have become available very quickly, but acknowledge that a dearth of skills has created a need to broaden their talent horizons. Consequently, individuals that want to transition into the clean energy sector are blessed with greater accessibility than ever before.
The diversification of renewable energy industries
Diversity has been a priority of the renewable energy sector for several years. However, according to the report, very little progress on this matter was made in 2020, partly due to the climate. However, while this may be the case, with a shortage of available skills facing the sector, it is highly likely that we will very soon see more businesses taking greater steps to become more diverse and create wider opportunities for job seekers from a wealth of backgrounds.
A promising future for renewables
Renewable energy industries face several challenges as they bid to reach the goals set out for 2050, not least because an entire year has been lost due to the impact of the pandemic. There is a growing demand for wind power, solar power, and renewables specialists across Europe and beyond but recruiters and HR teams will not have it easy as they look to fill senior positions. Aspirational workers are advised to invest in their skills, knowledge, and first impressions to identify and secure better opportunities.
Despite the hiccups, renewable energy industries are moving in the right direction and maintain their position as the future of energy.