Josh Smith Gibson Watts

Hydrogen market: The resource and skills gap challenge

By Josh Smith

“Hydrogen is today enjoying unprecedented momentum. The world should not miss this unique chance to make hydrogen an important part of our clean and secure energy future.” Dr Fatih Birol

In my last article,, I discussed the widening skills gap that the global hydrogen market will face if organisations, educational institutions and governments do not do something to support this market.

A recent analysis titled Growth Opportunities in the Hydrogen Market for the Global Power Sector, by Frost and Sullivan, suggests the Hydrogen market looks set to double in the next decade. The report predicts global hydrogen production will rise from its current 71 million tonnes to 168 million by 2030. And revenue generation within the market is expected to increase from $177.3 billion in 2020 to $420 billion in 2030.

This comes as countries across the world consider a more hydrogen-based economy. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the demand for hydrogen has grown and the number of countries with polices that directly support investment in hydrogen technologies is increasing, along with the number of sectors they target. The graph below shows key sectors receiving current policy support for hydrogen in 2018.

But, despite policy support, and the increase in interest and investment, there is still a huge shortage when it comes to resources. From a recruitment perspective, organisations are struggling to identify and recruit candidates at all levels.  When it comes to hiring the right people the obvious option of looking at those with previous industry experience, is not necessarily the only option or available option within an immature developing market.

Go global in your search

Through expanding the net of potential candidates, you can increase your choice and skillset. Although this does not seem like the easiest option, through the use of a third-party organisation, you can provide incentives to attract those from other regions.

We are seeing increased levels of candidate mobility across the globe in junior and senior recruitment.  Our search function is currently reaching and attracting candidates from Latin America, to Asia-Pacific and closer to home in Mainland Europe.

The hydrogen market is new, it’s sexy, it excites prospective candidates, you just need to access the right individuals, in the rights markets and attract them.  We are working with clients to mobilise workforces, whilst customers stay in control of the recruitment process, we attract them, interview them, support with legal and HR, and help onboard new employees.

Consider recent graduates

Whilst the hydrogen market is clearly in its infancy, it will take time for individuals to gain the necessary qualifications and experience. Until then, recent Master’s graduates within Chemistry, Engineering or Environmental Science who have gained some experience within the renewable energy sector or looking to enter into it, make ideal candidates.

From reaching out to potential candidates, I have come to find many are not aware of the opportunities within the hydrogen industry. Therefore, when it comes to filling the resources gap, seeking out recent graduates and providing the relevant training provides a great access to entry into the industry. In addition to this, promoting opportunities for graduates will help increase awareness and attract a great number of candidates for roles.  Whilst I lead the Executive Search function at Procorre, Tim Donaghy leads the Recruitment Team, who are currently supporting a number of clients attract individuals at this level.

Long-term policy and incentives are still required

Despite the incredible progress made in Europe, there are many hurdles still to overcome in the production and distribution of hydrogen.

Having now conducted recruitment exercises for many renewable energy clients across the UK and Europe there is an obvious lack of resources available to deliver on net-zero goals. To meet the growing demand of the hydrogen market, long term policies and incentives that create action on the ground, need to be put into place.

Without these policies and incentives which enable progress to be made in the industry, the skills and resource shortage facing many companies and the industry, will continue.

Gibson Watts can help you find the right talent

At Gibson Watts, we take pride in being experts in our chosen fields. With the ability to operate globally, Gibson Watts is not limited by geographical location. Our recruitment solutions are designed to identify the best talent in the market as well as solve the complex resourcing challenges faced by the industry.

Request a call back from a member of our recruitment team today to find out more.

Written by Josh Smith, Head of Executive Search at Gibson Watts

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