Recruitment in the renewable energy sector – the skills gap challenge

By Josh Smith

Like many others, I was unfortunate to be made redundant due to the coronavirus pandemic. But as they say, one door closes and another (exciting) door opens.

Learning an entirely new industry has been energising (excuse the pun) and incredibly insightful. When you start working in the renewable energy sector, you feel like you have joined a large elite group of people on a very special mission, to help save the planet.

A big difference I have noticed already is the willingness of people within the renewable energy sector to talk, to share experiences, to share information and to share ideas. Our new recruitment team here at Gibson Watts, within a very short time, spoken to a wide range of business leaders within the sector, all happy to take a call or a ‘zoom’ to connect and collaborate. There is a definite desire to work together and a definite sense of urgency. As an industry our window of opportunity is tight.

Here are some interesting facts about renewables that I had no idea about:

  • Sadly, the fossil fuel industry outstrips renewable industry subsidies by 400%
  • Total jobs in renewable energy alone is expected to reach 42 million by 2050
  • The renewable energy industry creates five times more jobs than fossil fuels
  • 60% of all employed energy professionals will be in Asia
  • One (big) wind turbine can generate enough electricity to power 6000 homes
  • China builds two wind turbines every hour
  • The largest power producing site in the world is a hydro dam in China, it is three times as powerful as the world’s biggest nuclear power plant
  • By 2024 30% of the world’s energy will be renewable, with the aim of 100% by 2050.

From a recruitment perspective there are some huge challenges on the horizon with the renewable energy skills gap.

As the image highlights, already there is a huge skills shortage in the industry and as the number of projects worldwide grows exponentially this gap will only widen. Governments and industry must improve their efforts. What needs more focus?

  • Promotion of the renewable energy industry to younger generations
  • Provision of more scholarships and apprenticeships
  • Provision of training and development for people switching industry (especially from fossil fuels)
  • Development of better internal development and training opportunities
  • Development of stronger staff retention schemes
  • Promotion of diversity
  • Improvement in the facilitation of global relocation and settlement

I believe more government intervention in this challenge is essential. Industry can’t carry the burden alone.

Gibson Watts are focusing on exec search, senior hires and bespoke managed solutions for our customers within the renewable energy sector. Get in touch today, to find out how we can help you.

Written by Josh Smith

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