Global Energy Talent Index reveals mass skills shift

The sixth annual Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) reveals that the clean energy transition is accelerating a mass skills migration from traditional to renewable sectors.

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According to the report by Airswift and Energy Jobline, the energy and engineering industries are experiencing a growing technical skills shortage, meaning recruiters across all energy sectors are more likely to seek technical skills outside their company than in-house.

Many companies are also turning to automation over recruitment or talent development, the GETI found. Four energy sectors — power, petrochemicals, oil and gas and renewables — are now more likely to adapt their skills to a changing energy landscape through AI and automation than through mentoring existing employees or recruiting.

The clean energy transition’s accompanying ‘exodus of skills’ from traditional to renewable energy could exacerbate skills shortages in some sectors, the report said. Over three quarters of professionals in traditional energy sectors would consider switching to another sector within three years according to its findings, and most potential career-changers in oil and gas, power and nuclear would move to renewables.

Climate change concerns are shown to be a key driver, with over 80 per cent of professionals across all sectors saying that ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) is now a factor in whether to join or leave an energy firm.

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However, many renewables workers also moved to traditional sectors such as oil and gas in the last 18 months and half of professionals in fossil fuel sectors said their organisation’s ESG policies were ‘sufficiently robust’. This indicates that recent decarbonisation efforts are helping boost employee retention and recruitment across traditional energy sectors.

The power, petrochemical and renewable sectors were equally, or more likely, to seek digital skills outside the industry than within other energy sectors. The GETI report found that 30 per cent of professionals across all sectors listed new digitally-enabled skills and competencies as the biggest opportunity for their sector over the next three years.

Janette Marx, chief executive officer at Airswift said that growing industry convergence around clean energy has created more porous borders between sectors, with renewables becoming increasingly attractive due to its sustainability and long-term career prospects.

“Instead of fighting for a limited pool of existing talent, the industry should expand the talent net to sectors such as technology where there are growing skills overlaps,” said Marx.

“The skills shortagehas made this a dream market for employees with a strong salary bounce across all sectors and a growing willingness among energy firms to hire from other sectors. An engineer on an offshore oil rig has many of the raw skills needed for an offshore wind-to-hydrogen project. That said, some firms will simply look to fill skills gaps by automating more jobs and we are already seeing automation increasing.”

The full Global Energy Talent Index is available to download here.