What lies ahead for your career in renewables?

The world’s largest energy recruitment and employment trends report, compiled by the Global Energy Talent Index (GETI), has collected responses of some 16,000 energy sector employees. Here, we take a look at the takeaway points for those working in, or looking to forge a career in the renewable energy sector.

Despite the many challenges faced in light of Covid-19, when asked about the industry as a whole, respondents were overwhelmingly positive:

  • 66% of respondents are confident that their firm is resilient to the challenges it faces
  • 76% believe the sector has grown in 2020
  • 85% expect continued growth over the next three years

Challenges ahead

Despite the overall positivity, after 2020 there are, understandably, some reservations about the future in the industry, with 70% of respondents stating that advances in engineering techniques and technologies are likely to be the biggest source of opportunity, and only 47% stating the transition to cleaner energy as crucial. This might seem pessimistic, given the current boom in the sector, but, as Josh Young, director of Energy Jobline states:
“Respondents recognise the opportunity, but they also know there is some way to go. That is why the biggest opportunities lie in advances to engineering techniques and technologies. These innovations are essential for getting to the point where renewables can effectively displace other energy sources. The bigger issue for the future is the balance between continuing subsidies and the fundamentals of turning a profit. Over-dependence on government assistance going forward may be the more significant pay constraint.”

It’s a prescient point regarding ongoing government support schemes. Whilst many in the industry feel more should be done to level the playing field – such as reducing VAT rates for renewable technologies – after a year of record borrowing, in which government debt surpassed £2 trillion, many companies will be wondering how long current subsidies for renewable technologies can be sustained before they need to be competitive on their own terms.

Career development & transitioning

When asked what measures employers should take to increase their resilience, 44% said increased training and mentorship, which aligns with well-documented fears about a talent crisis in the industry. In fact, 57% stated, specifically, that they are worried about a potential skills gap – a clear increase from the 46 per cent who expressed similar fears two years ago. Furthermore, despite the growing popularity as a destination for those transitioning from traditional industries, the renewables sector cannot rely on being the destination of choice, as the lines between industries begin to blur. As Janette Marx, Airswift CEO states:
“Now that other sectors are pivoting towards cleaner energy, innovation is increasing elsewhere. Advances in electric vehicles or energy storage, for example, bring renewables and the power sector closer together. Energy professionals who look for innovation and embrace change could find a home outside the renewables sector, and we could well see some talent swapping as traditional barriers between these sectors get fuzzier.”

A vote of confidence

Reassuringly, 77% of those already in the industry agreed that they would still pursue a career in renewable energy if asked today. It’s a statistic that certainly resonates with Andrew England, recruitment specialist for the renewables sector, at Eleven Recruitment:
“The news has been full of stories about the need for a greener future, but the narrative has, until now, been focussed on the technologies required. Of course, developing revolutionary products that can achieve our net-zero goals is imperative, but we will ultimately need a huge range of talented people to implement these new technologies. We’ve had great success and positive feedback from the candidates we’ve helped transition from traditional industries, as well as those entirely new to the sector. It’s a hugely exciting and innovative environment to work in but more needs to be more done to make people aware of this.”

Interested in what lies ahead for your career in 2021? Contact Andrew at Eleven Recruitment for a friendly chat.