Renewable energy recruitment: How to attract the best candidates
Right now, sustainability is the word on every energy company’s lips. Compulsory net-zero targets are to be delivered within a tight timeframe, with energy companies on the front lines of the UK government's strategy for reducing emissions.
Renewable energy used to be the domain of specialist providers, but soon, renewables will be the default for practically every energy company.
It’s an exciting time for the industry, but also one of great change. One of the biggest challenges during this transitional period will be securing the right talent to help steer companies to net-zero profitably.
We recently caught up with Stuart Mitchell, Business Manager within Eden Scott’s energy division.
Stuart works closely with both renewable energy clients and exceptional candidates from around the UK and beyond.
- Renewable energy recruitment challenges
- The skills we need to reach net-zero
- The top incentives for renewable energy candidates
Renewable energy recruitment: Challenges
Stuart talked us through the recruitment challenges facing companies in the renewables sector, as well as the opportunities awaiting those willing to adapt.
The renewable energy sector is experiencing an unprecedented increase in competition, with a rise in activity across the onshore and offshore wind, energy from waste, hydrogen, carbon capture, solar tidal and wave power.
We continue to see huge activity from the traditional developers who have helped shape the sector to date however in the past 12 months especially the Oil & Gas companies are now starting to pivot into the renewable energy sector, specifically here in the UK with a focus on bidding into the latest Offshore Wind leasing rounds.
New technology is being developed at a rapid pace to keep up with new demands. That means there’s now a very limited pool of candidates who have the necessary skills and experience to carry projects forward at pace.
All of these challenges mean a highly competitive recruitment market and one that’s working in candidates’ favour. With many options to choose from, they are at a huge advantage when selecting their employer. The result? Employers need to work harder to attract the right candidates.
Renewable energy recruitment: Skills for net-zero
To reach net-zero targets, renewable energy companies need candidates with the right combination of skills.
Engineering skillsets are in general, in short supply, The demand for those with Electrical, Mechanical, Structural engineering experience outstrips supply. This is especially true when we considering specific disciplines within these areas e.g. those specialized with Subsea Cable Engineering, Foundation Design or those with experience working on Wind Turbine Generator projects.
Project Development Skills
We are in a fresh and exciting industry and in many cases, developers are at the start of their renewable energy journey and or looking to develop new projects. We have seen huge demand of late for those with Project Development skills i.e. those who can identify opportunities for development and turn those opportunities into operational projects.
Closely linked to Project Development, there is huge demand for those with Consenting skills. These specialists play a key role in helping Onshore and Offshore projects navigate through planning challenges and help ensure that any development is compliant.
- How To become a Wind Turbine Engineer
- Eden Scott Partners with Crown Estate Scotland
Renewable energy recruitment: Candidate incentives
So, with all this in mind, how can renewable energy companies attract the best candidates? Having worked closely with candidates in this sector, Stuart takes us through the most appealing incentives.
Salary and benefits
Stuart tells us that prior to the pandemic, salary and benefits were one of the most important factors for renewable energy candidates.
While a genuinely competitive salary remains highly attractive, it’s no longer the candidates' sole interest.
Need help understanding what constitutes a competitive salary in renewables? Talk to us.
Fully remote and flexible roles
The tumultuous nature of the past few years has made so many of us realise the importance of family and home life. Whether candidates want to pick up their kids from school or simply walk the dog with their partner at lunchtime, remote working offers flexibility.
Some companies are still keen to see candidates working at in-office roles at least part of the week. However, this means limiting searches to the local area; a challenge when candidates with the relevant skillset and experience are in such short supply.
Offering truly flexible hours and the ability to work from home full time could sweeten the deal for potential recruits.
More of us are making detailed plans for the future. A high pension contribution can be very attractive for candidates, especially those who would savour the opportunity to retire early.
Offering a highly generous pension contribution of up to 20% could see candidates not only queuing to join your team but remaining there for the long term.
A generous annual leave allowance is of increasing value to candidates in renewable energy, too. Often, renewable energy employees work under pressure, and the industry is now more conscious of the impact this has on mental health.
Having the opportunity to take frequent time out is seen as a real incentive for candidates, so offering an ample annual leave package is highly attractive.
Some employers offer ‘unlimited annual leave’, but many candidates are now quite sceptical of what this translates to in practice, so specifying an allowance can help to limit this concern.
There is a real appetite amongst renewable energy candidates to work on high-profile or compelling projects. Candidates have worked hard to acquire their skills and experience, and want to see that put to good use on projects that they can be proud of.
Being clear about the type of projects candidates can expect to work on can be a real motivator. Even with identical incentive packages, an interesting project will make a big difference when it comes to attracting quality candidates.
Renewable energy recruitment: Looking ahead
There are currently many boundaries to recruiting in renewables space. But, with detailed insight into candidate requirements, attracting exceptional recruits is possible.
If you’d like to attract the best and brightest candidates to work for your renewable energy company, we can help. Get in touch.