What Are the Most Significant Developments in Renewable Energy, And What Does This Mean for Talent Attraction?

5 minutes min read

By Erin Hinchliffe

Senior Consultant - Renewable Energy

Impending climate concerns have catapulted investments into cleaner, renewable solutions from governments and private investors across the globe. According to Bloomberg Energy Investment Trends 2022, global investment in the clean energy transition totalled $755 billion, a 21% increase from 2020, and this number is only set to rise further. Renewable energy was the largest sector for investment in 2021, which attracted $366 billion for new projects and small-scale systems. Because of this investment, many exciting renewable technologies are in development.

 

The Latest Developments in Renewable Technologies:

 

In Solar: 

 

Solar Inverter: According to the US Department of Energy, 3% of all electricity produced in the US comes from solar panels. We spoke with CSG Talent's Head of Renewable Energy Dom Ridley, who revealed that solar inverters are a vital technology that converts sunlight into usable electricity. He explained, “solar inverters convert as much energy as possible - making the most of the sunlight and energy. Recent developments have explored combining hydrogen and solar, which poses great potential”. 

 

Dom added, “organizations are working hard to make them as efficient as possible, and it's an exciting time. Our clients are the best in the market, and we’re proud to work with those who make a difference”.

 

Printable Organic Solar Cells: The amount of solar energy that reaches the Earth’s surface offers excellent prospects in the quest for renewable energy. Australia’s national scientific research agency, CSIRO, has produced a low-cost, paper-thin solar cell the size of an A3 piece of paper which could revolutionize photovoltaic solar power generation. These highly lightweight organic solar cells can be laminated onto building walls or other irregular surfaces exposed to sunlight and be made directly into construction materials.

 

In Wind: 

 

Portable Wind Turbines: Canadian start-up Aurea Technologies has developed a portable wind turbine that folds down to the size of a water bottle, providing reliable energy on the go.

 

Floating Wind Turbines: On a larger scale, floating wind turbines may be something you’d expect to see in a science fiction film - but perhaps this may soon be reality. Unlike conventional offshore wind turbines that require concrete bases in the seabed, floating wind turbines utilize previous oil and gas offshore platform technology; they are anchored into the seabed with just a few cables at sites as deep as 700 meters. Following successful testing, Japan has recently invested $226 million towards this new type of energy generation.

 

Emerging Technologies:

 

Wave Power: One of the most recent developments within renewable technology is wave power generation. Unlike other renewable technologies such as solar, waves offer a consistent energy source - regardless of the time of day. Similarly, waves also provide much greater energy density due to water having a heavier mass. By examining the optimal size and configuration of waves, scientists hope to develop game-changing frameworks to harness the power of waves.

 

So, What Do These Developments Mean For Talent Acquisition?

 

As global talent experts, we recognise that the worldwide push towards renewable energy creates many new jobs, which is tremendous for an emerging sector. Consequently, this has evoked a rapid shake-up of the talent landscape. As the number of opportunities outweighs candidates, the recruitment space has become exceedingly candidate focused. In addition, the sheer number of unfilled vacancies has led many recruiters to adjoining sectors for transferable talent.

 

 

The 2022 GETI Report gathers data from 10,000 energy professionals and concluded that “renewable energy may not be exclusive to energy production”, citing that “transferable skills provide a gateway for workers to move between energy sectors seamlessly”. And they’re not wrong; 21% of the Renewable Energy workforce joined from another sector in the last 18 months - the majority switched from either Oil and Gas or Power, with 28% coming from each.

But ultimately, candidates have the power of choice. With more opportunities within the energy space, both renewable and traditional, candidates can afford to be selective. Indeed, as the workforce will play a central role in enabling us to meet this continued acceleration of clean energy generation expected in the coming years, corporations must consider candidate motivations carefully to attract the best talent.

Gavin Attwood, Principal Consultant within Energy and Infrastructure at CSG Talent revealed, “there’s a lot of focus currently within the APAC region (and globally) on electric vehicle solutions. The EV industry has grown exponentially over recent years, and now it’s very much a catch-up game to deal with the large number of vehicles being manufactured. EV Charging in particular, this is far behind from where it needs to be, both in the home and on the road. We’ve seen a few examples of small EV charging companies growing massively in a short period of time, however it certainly needs a lot more players in the game as the industry grows. Naturally people with this type of experience are rare and so we do our best to educate the client where possible and look at more general backgrounds such as electrical or electronics to acquire transferable skills to this newly evolved industry.”

Hiring Through a Time Of Change and New Developments

 

Most obviously, salaries are expected to rise. However, many new development projects such as those listed above cannot compete with the wages offered by established titans, for example, in oil and gas. As a result, there are risks of project delays if the talent is unavailable.

 

However, recent research revealed that millennial talent demonstrate different values than the workforce before - they’re not as driven by money. Millennials see the workplace as “a source of powerful and positive social impact. Millennial job candidates want to join an organization that sees a social role for itself”(Benchmarkone). They want a role that allows them to become innovators themselves. Certainly, highlighting your CSR initiatives or the opportunity to work with emerging technologies may be an excellent ammunition tool in the war on talent. 



 

CSG Talent’s Solar Photovoltaic and EPC consultant, Helcias Ribeiro, revealed that “many companies within this space are reconsidering their benefits packages with some even offering shares in the company - with the stipulation that you may only sell them after three years to ensure talent longevity and staff retention incentives”. Helcias also talked to us about the increase in clients turning to CSG Talent for talent strategies to future-proof their upcoming talent pipeline and position themselves better against competitors.

Helcias added, “Our years of expertise set CSG Talent apart; we have unrivalled market knowledge, invested in multiple candidate databases and are ultimately very honest with both clients and candidates. We genuinely care about our relationships with clients.”

CSG Talent’s Tom Moriarty also commented, “At CSG Talent, we focus on relationships with our candidates, get to know them as human beings, understand their situation and their motivations. Supporting candidates throughout their career journey, carrying out due diligence and keeping regular contact during their active or less active phases of searching for a new role has led to successful long-term relationships”.

 

Looking To the Future:

New research by NUS stated that over 60% of all University and College students want to learn more about sustainability. A further 87% said that they wanted their institution to take sustainability more seriously. At the same time, the number of green-related degrees has increased to 28.5%, with the US having the highest number of green degree offerings. Moreover, high profile young campaigners such as Gretta Thunberg are proving to be a strong driving force for the talent of the future.

 

CSG Talent’s Solar Photovoltaic and EPC consultant, Helcias Ribeiro concluded that “with new investment and greater publicity from global initiatives such as COP26, many people are now completing an electrical engineering degree or a sustainable energy masters as a direct result of this huge push towards renewable energy. Renewable energy is the new cool thing for the younger generation”. 

 

 

Indeed, the future looks bright for developments within renewable energy and those seeking a career within the sector. There is an opportunity to have a significant impact in creating a greener and more efficient world by driving innovation and new technology within renewable energy and this is something many professionals are passionate and motivated by.

Are you looking to hire new talent within the renewable energy and clean technology space? Perhaps you’re concerned with staff retention rates? Please speak to a member of our expert team for further guidance or browse our full range of insights here.