How to Attract Outstanding Executive Talent in Renewable Energy


Climate change and the global shift towards sustainable practices have become one of the biggest challenges that has ever faced humanity. With scientists and governments sending warnings of rising sea levels, melting ice caps, famine, and drought, executive talent is needed to urgently transition the world to a greener, more sustainable energy source. 

Executive talent is vital in driving innovation, navigating complex challenges, and inspiring a sustainable future. However, there is a major hurdle. Renewable energy is experiencing a significant skills shortage, with vast numbers of skilled professionals, including leaders, needed to fill the 38.2 million renewable energy jobs required by 2030 for ambitious environmental targets to be reached. 

Our guide will explore how, as a business, you can fully prepare to ensure that you can attract and hire outstanding executive talent. We will explore the vital skills to look for when hiring for executive roles and effective recruitment methods to ensure you remain competitive in the talent market. 

Vital Skills to Look Out For in Executive Talent 

Renewable energy companies are in a high-pressure situation. Governments, businesses, and wider society are increasingly concerned with our planet's well-being and the world we leave for future generations. Organisations in the industry are seen as a significant ray of hope in the climate change fight. 

Most businesses know the standard skills needed for an effective leader - communication, empathy, delegation, etc. In the renewable energy sector, executive talent needs certain specialised traits alongside their technical expertise. We have picked out five key skills to look for when interviewing for executive roles to ensure you have the leaders in place to drive clean energy production and a brighter future for us all. 

Industry Expertise 

While this may seem an obvious skill, with the renewable energy sector playing such an urgent and vital role in securing the planet's health,  it needs leaders who deeply understand and are up-to-date in the latest developments and advancements in areas such as wind, hydrogen, geothermal, solar, and bioenergy. They must be up-to-date with industry trends, breakthroughs, and advancements to make informed, effective, and quick decisions that help drive a business's growth and innovation and positively impact the battle against climate change. 

A passion for sustainability and renewable energy is important even for executive roles where they are not on the frontline of implementing projects such as finance and HR. Building a green and healthier world is a collective effort from all areas of a business, and its leaders need to share the same values and dedication to ensure they play their role in achieving this. 

Ethical Leadership and Awareness 

Ethical leadership and awareness are crucial assets for executive talent in the renewable energy sector. This is underpinned by the industry's commitment to battling climate change and driving sustainability. Ethical leaders are vital in ensuring that all aspects of their decisions, actions, and initiatives align with community well-being, long-term responsibility, and environmental stewardship. 

These leaders extend their influence beyond the immediate company boundaries, advocating for policies that advance renewable energy adoption and inspiring a culture of ethical behaviour. Their dedication to ethical leadership can create a ripple effect, inspiring others to adhere to the same values. In an industry where the impact can be felt across the planet and future generations, these leaders can guide the world toward a greener, more sustainable future. 

Public Relations 

With increasing public concern around global warming and government pressure due to ambitious net-zero targets, renewable energy businesses increasingly have to publicly report on their projects, impact, and sustainability efforts. Excellent public relations is vital to a business's brand and the ability to attract talent, investment, and government support. 

Here are several key reasons for hiring executive talent with strong public relations skills:

  • Building Investor Confidence - Strong public relations activities can attract investors by highlighting the viability and potential returns on projects. 

  • Increasing Public Support - Due to the changes projects such as wind farms can have on the landscape and local communities, businesses often face public scrutiny. PR can help build public understanding and support by communicating clean energy's economic and environmental benefits, dispelling myths and misconceptions, and addressing concerns. 

  • Market Advantage - When talent is in high demand, businesses need to do all they can to stand out in their markets. Effective PR can help showcase a company's unique contributions, breakthroughs, and commitment to clean energy and sustainability, making them more appealing to potential talent and the wider public. 

Compliance, Regulatory and Policy Knowledge 

Compliance, regulatory, and policy knowledge are pivotal for executive talent to shape their company's growth and operational success. With a multifaceted impact, this skill ensures adherence to intricate legal frameworks that govern renewable energy projects at local, national, and international levels. By understanding and navigating these regulations, companies can secure permits, access incentives, and mitigate risks, avoiding costly delays and penalties.

Moreover, regulatory and policy expertise enables effective advocacy for supportive policies, enhances stakeholder engagement, and fosters community trust. This skill facilitates strategic project planning, market expansion, and innovation in a rapidly evolving industry, ultimately positioning companies as compliant, responsible, and competitive. 

Innovation and Adaptability 

Due to the industry's dynamic nature and ongoing transformation, innovation and adaptability are indispensable skills no matter what executive position you are hiring for. The rapid advancement of technologies, from more efficient solar panels to recyclable wind turbines, and a mixture of market, societal, and government targets and expectations mean a constant need to drive innovation. 

Innovation and adaptability enable leaders to implement cutting-edge solutions, increase efficiency, and overcome challenges, often with great urgency, to ensure businesses are the best place to lead the fight against climate change. 

How Can You Prepare to Hire Outstanding Executive Talent? 

Now that you've discovered why executive talent is important and the skills needed to make an effective leader in the industry, we'll look at how you can prepare your renewable energy recruitment processes to ensure the best candidates want to join your business. 

You Need a Strong Brand 

Attracting the best executive talent can be challenging if your business is relatively unknown to people interested in working in the renewable energy sector. Businesses must consider how they are perceived by potential future employees within their main markets and on a global scale. 

Global leaders with a strong brand in their home country often undervalue the significance of regional branding, which is essential for attracting outstanding executive talent, particularly individuals with sought-after niche and specialised talent that will help them expand into new regions. 

In addition, how your brand is perceived should go beyond the renewable energy sector, as one significant way to address the skills shortages is to transfer executive talent from other industries. Simply being part of the green-energy transition is insufficient to compete with flourishing sectors like oil and gas, construction, finance, and tech, offering clear and appealing employee benefits. 

Be Ready to Provide Evidence 

You've created a business brand that sends the message to potential employees worldwide that you are battling climate change, striving for sustainability, and truly caring for the planet's future. There is a high potential that executive talent could ask a simple question at any stage of the executive recruitment process: can you prove your success and impact? 

In an age where 'greenwashing' is called out by governments and wider society, businesses cannot afford to paint a brilliant picture of themselves without evidence to back it up. Thankfully, there are several ways businesses can provide evidence. Here are two key methods:

Calculate carbon Footprint - It would seem highly contradictory if you could show these outstanding renewable energy projects if your actions significantly contributed to climate change. By calculating a personal carbon footprint, companies can show potential executive talent in their efforts to reduce the environmental impact of their business activities. 

Provide Results of Successful Projects - By showcasing case studies of successful projects, businesses can highlight the significant and positive impact these activities have had on the battle against climate change. If, for example, you have a wind farm that provides clean energy for millions of homes, showcase this to executive talent to attract them to your business. 

Create a Clear Career Path 

Executive talent are highly driven and motivated individuals striving to significantly impact their careers, and in the case of renewable energy executive talent, on the planet's health. These individuals join and stay with businesses for the long term that can offer this career development. If they can't visualise their career path, they are less likely to join, and it will also negatively impact their perception of your brand. 

Renewable energy businesses must effectively communicate their strategies for nurturing employee growth across diverse specialisations, including technical and project management. As firms in the renewable energy sector increasingly expand their global presence, they must also include relocation opportunities to other countries as part of an enticing career path. 

Provide Attractive Compensation and Benefits Packages 

Ambitious and driven executive talent are often attracted to companies that enable them to share in their achievements. In addition to conventional bonuses, flexible working, and monthly and annual employee awards, the implementation of long-term incentive schemes, such as equity options for recently constructed solar and wind ventures, could effectively entice fresh talent and enhance the likelihood that employees will stay for a prolonged period with a business. 

Services such as talent mapping can provide valuable and in-depth intelligence on competitors in the renewable energy market and allied industries. These talent maps can provide a holistic view of compensation and benefits trends. In an incredibly competitive market like renewable energy, understanding the salaries and types of benefits offered to executive talent is crucial to ensuring you can hire the individuals needed to lead your business. 

Consider Recruiting Through Acquisition

This refers to hiring talented individuals by acquiring or merging with companies with the desired skills and expertise. This can be a costly but highly effective strategy for sectors such as the renewable energy sector facing major talent shortages. Renewable energy businesses can drive their growth, elevate innovation, and remain competitive by gaining executive talent with the necessary managerial, technical, or specialised skills. 

As the pressure to find executive talent and fill renewable energy jobs is predicted to grow due to environmental targets and the growing concern for our planet, this approach to talent procurement may witness an increase in prevalence, particularly among enterprises seeking particular technical talent. 

Final Thoughts 

The urgent call to address climate change and usher in a sustainable future has propelled the renewable energy sector to the forefront of global efforts. Within this critical industry, visionary leadership emerges as a linchpin for success. The journey towards a cleaner, greener energy landscape demands leaders adept at conventional executive skills and a unique blend of expertise tailored to the sector's distinctive challenges and opportunities.

The scarcity of executive talent in the renewable energy realm is a pressing concern that echoes the magnitude of the task at hand. With projections estimating the need for 38 million renewable energy jobs by 2030, the demand for skilled leaders is at an all-time high. These leaders will serve as transformation architects, guiding companies toward sustainable practices, innovating cutting-edge solutions, and driving the transition to renewable energy sources.

Global Leaders in Renewable Energy Recruitment

At CSG, we understand the importance of having outstanding talent in executive roles to ensure the renewable energy sector continues to carry out its vital work. This can be highly challenging for businesses to do in such a competitive industry. 

We possess vast industry knowledge and worldwide connections to locate the executive talent essential to driving your business’s innovation and success. If you need further details into how we can elevate your organisation through effective renewable energy recruitment strategies, dive into our specialised executive search page or directly reach out to our dedicated team.