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The climate emergency gripping societies worldwide has significantly increased the number of roles and career opportunities within renewable energy. We're also seeing more developers and new start-ups within renewable energy as countries develop strategies to move away from traditional power sources, such as fossil fuels, to greener and more sustainable sources.
Environmental events such as Cop 27 and the growing concerns of the electorate have forced global governments, such as Australia, the US, and the UK, to set ambitious but vital targets such as net zero by 2050 in an effort to significantly reduce their global emissions.
On top of climate change, the ongoing energy crisis is affecting billions of people worldwide, as the increasing prices have caused significant problems and extra expenses for people trying to power their businesses and homes. The crisis has sped up the need for renewable energy as countries globally quickly seek to develop more secure and sustainable power sources.
The sector needs to expand rapidly to ease the effects of the energy crisis and achieve these environmental targets. It requires innovative and skilled talent to fill senior-level renewable energy jobs. These leaders will be instrumental in the drive to develop the significant number of projects, such as wind and solar farms, needed to supply people with secure, clean energy and protect the planet's future.
In this guide, we will explore the incredible rise of renewable energy jobs, the skills gaps this creates, and what businesses can do to ensure they have effective executive recruitment strategies to attract top talent in an increasingly competitive market.
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), total global renewable energy jobs jumped by 700,000 in 2021 alone, taking the total jobs in the sector to 12.7 million. Two-thirds of these jobs are in Asia, and 42% are in China alone. The EU and Brazil follow this at 10%, and the US and India with a 7% share each. The sub-sector share of the 12.7 million renewable energy jobs is broken as follows:
The IRENA predicts that due to the increased attention by countries for secure, sustainable power, those employed in renewable energy jobs will rise to 38.2 million by 2030 if ambitious energy targets and investments are put in place.
Renewable energy jobs require individuals with a unique mixture of experience, technical skills, and industry knowledge. This makes it challenging to find the right people with the right qualifications for executive roles, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for newer, emerging renewable energy markets to develop due to these limited talent pools. So with such a substantial rise in renewable energy jobs and changing attitudes towards traditional fuel sources, particularly fossil fuels, the competition and difficulty for businesses to attract top executive talent will only increase.
The size of the skills gap in renewable energy is extraordinary. For the industry to continue expanding as necessary to meet energy and environmental demands, between now and 2030, it will need an extra 1.1 million workers, such as engineers and electricians, to develop and construct solar and wind plants and another 1.7 million workers to maintain and operate them.
The skills gaps also apply to 'white-collar- roles, as it is predicted that around 1.3 million extra workers will be needed to fill the required roles. These types of renewable energy jobs, such as wind and solar project developers, sales managers, and data analysts, require individuals with unique experience, technical skills, industry knowledge, and expertise in regulatory compliance and policy development.
Due to the sector being in its relative infancy, finding talent within the industry with these skills and experience has become a significant obstacle for businesses, and due to the extraordinary rise of the sector, this challenge is becoming increasingly difficult.
Therefore, organisations must ensure they have an effective executive recruitment strategy in place to attract the talent they need from both internal and external sources, to drive their success, provide countries worldwide with sustainable power, and protect the future of our planet.
Considering the substantial skills gap, we will look at five crucial areas for developing an elevated renewable energy recruitment strategy to attract top talent in an increasingly competitive market.
Senior-level talent is often motivated by a sense of purpose and the opportunity to contribute to and lead meaningful work and projects. Nothing on the world stage is more critical, challenging, and current than the fight against climate change.
Therefore, it is essential to emphasise your business's vision, mission, and commitment to sustainability. Highlighting the significant and positive impact that candidates can make in addressing climate change, developing a greener future, and improving the health of our planet can be highly compelling.
Your mission and values can be showcased throughout the application process in renewable energy recruitment materials such as job postings, presentations and platforms such as social media and the company website. Displaying this will also help streamline the process, as giving potential candidates a clear understanding increases the likelihood that only those with the same beliefs and motivations will apply.
Furthermore, businesses should use their mission and values during interviews as discussion points with potential candidates. This can help candidates gain a deeper understanding of the company's goals and values and, for businesses, ensure the individual matches their beliefs and objectives before hiring.
Lack of career development opportunities is a major cause of candidates not joining companies and current employees walking away from roles. This is true at all levels, from those just starting out their career to those in executive roles. If candidates can visualise their future at a company, they are more likely to be attracted to and work for them.
Therefore, renewable energy companies need to be able to articulate their plans to candidates for employee development, along with potential career paths to roles with different specialisations, such as project management and technical roles like engineering.
As renewable energy companies increasingly go global, they need to make temporary or permanent relocations to other countries as part of an attractive career path for candidates. For many years, businesses within energy industries such as oil and gas have sent their leaders worldwide for exploration, production, and operational purposes. Now, the time has come for renewable energy companies to take the reigns and learn from these strategies.
Most senior professionals seek intellectually stimulating and impactful work. By highlighting challenging, innovative, and successful projects, businesses can demonstrate their expertise and innovation within the industry. These case studies can highlight the company's role in developing and implementing renewable energy solutions and the positive impact these projects have had on the environment and local communities. By sharing these success stories, companies can attract senior-level talent passionate about making a difference in the renewable energy sector.
The businesses and people behind renewable energy are driven by innovation. By showcasing the cutting-edge technologies and solutions your company is developing or implementing, you demonstrate your commitment to staying at the forefront of renewable energy advancements. Examples you could provide are groundbreaking research you have conducted, large-scale installations such as wind or solar farms, or unique collaborations.
These case studies and technologies can be showcased through the following channels:
Ambitious, experienced, and highly skilled candidates are often motivated to work for organisations that reward them for their hard work and allow them to share their success. Along with more traditional benefits such as stock investments, bonuses, and employee awards, consider long-term incentive programs, such as equity options for newly constructed solar and wind projects, which could make you more attractive in the talent market and help retain employees once they have joined.
While these incentives may take longer to materialise than the more traditional incentives due to development and build lead times, they can provide a competitive advantage over industries that don't have the vast growth expectations that renewable energy is experiencing.
As in many industrial sectors, companies are adapting their hiring strategies by widening their talent pool by identifying candidates from industries where many skills, education, and career paths are transferable to renewable energy.
As many renewable energy jobs and specialisms within the sector are relevantly new, trying to attract skilled and experienced talent, especially for executive roles with relevant industry experience, can be challenging. So expanding your search to industries such as oil and gas, mining, and engineering is a strategy many businesses implement to fill skills gaps and attract the leaders they need.
Going back to the importance of clearly promoting a brand message, many job seekers, particularly millennials and Gen Z, are more likely to work for companies that reflect their values (80% of Gen-Z employees look for employers whose values align with their own). With people increasingly feeling passionate and concerned about climate change, they are seeking ways to contribute to a greener, healthier, and more sustainable future for our planet.
If renewable energy businesses can clearly and effectively articulate how an executive role within the company allows individuals to work for a company where they can make a difference in the climate emergency, it can significantly impact their ability to attract senior-level talent. This can be a particularly advantageous strategy when attracting talent from more traditional energy industries, which negatively affect the environment.
The ongoing boom of renewable energy jobs presents opportunities and challenges for businesses in attracting top talent. With the increasing demand for secure and sustainable power sources, the renewable energy sector is experiencing significant growth, leading to a rise in job opportunities. However, this growth also creates a talent shortage, particularly for executive roles and specialised positions.
To overcome this challenge and attract outstanding talent for executive roles, businesses must develop an effective renewable energy recruitment strategy. By clearly portraying the company's mission and values, providing a clear development path, showcasing successful projects and cutting-edge technologies, offering competitive employee incentives, and expanding the talent pool, businesses can position themselves as attractive employers and secure the people they need to drive their success in the rapidly growing renewable energy industry.
We understand the efforts that businesses have to make to address the significant skills gaps by developing more innovative strategies to attempt to attract the talent they need. However, this can be time-consuming and costly.
At CSG, we have extensive industry expertise and global networks to find the executive talent you need to fill your vacant renewable energy jobs and shape the future of your business and the planet. If you would like more information on how we can support your business with successful hiring strategies within renewable energy recruitment, explore our dedicated executive search page or contact the team directly.