Contributed by Dom Ridley, Head of Renewable Energy & Clean Technology, CSG Talent
There is a global talent shortage across all industries and the renewable energy and clean technology sectors are not alone when experiencing challenges in attracting high-caliber talent to the industry. We find ourselves in a market driven by candidates who have an abundance of career opportunities available to them and large numbers of renewable energy jobs. There is also a significant lack of experienced candidates with relevant industry experience that organizations within the renewable energy sector desire. As the renewable energy and clean technology sectors are still relatively new, this means there are limitations with the pool of candidates who have gained practical experience working in a renewable energy role.
Working closely with many leading renewable energy organizations on their recruitment and hiring strategies, we’re encouraging businesses to shift their approach and focus on attaining candidates who have transferrable skills from allied industries such as oil, gas, and engineering, adapting their approach to combat recruitment challenges.
Reviewing their existing employee experience and hiring strategy is also key to ensuring businesses can successfully attract top-level talent in the market.
What are the challenges impacting talent attraction within the renewable energy space?
The global talent shortage is resulting in high numbers of job opportunities available within renewable energy, with the limited talent available to fulfill roles. This distinct shortage of candidates is posing challenges for businesses set on growth and expansion plans, while also combatting the supply and demand of business activity.
The talent shortage is impacting renewable energy in many ways. With huge demands from governments and initiatives worldwide to increase renewable energy capacity, there is a limited pool of talent, specifically for commercial and strategic roles; senior leaders, project developers, sales managers, sales directors, and M&A professionals, to name a few.
The renewable energy and clean technology space is still a relatively new area and with a strong presence from start-ups and new developers. As a result, leaders are struggling to find the right experience they are looking for with so many varying positions and job titles within the industry. For time-poor leaders, this is an ongoing challenge to understand the differing roles at competitors and others in the field. This is where it’s hugely beneficial for businesses to engage with a recruitment specialist who operates solely within the renewable energy space. Having in-depth knowledge of the market, business structures, variation of roles, and a huge network of candidates in the network successfully alleviate this challenge.
There is still an ongoing impact on supply chains within renewable energy, which is impacting development and manufacturing, specifically within Solar equipment. This is a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit, and the Ukrainian crisis. Delays in production or projects getting underway impact job offers to potential candidates. Businesses are losing talent who are seeking opportunities elsewhere with smoother and more efficient hiring processes where they are not experiencing delays due to supply chain issues.
What do businesses need to do to attract top talent within renewable energy?
Organizations need to be proactive to ensure they enhance their talent attraction strategy, both in the short and long term. Adapting traditional hiring processes and improving the efficiency of the hiring process will achieve better results for headcount growth.
Evaluate and streamline the hiring process
To guarantee your hiring process achieves the desired results in attracting the right talent to your business, it’s essential your hiring process is streamlined. Having a streamlined hiring process and effective talent strategy will reduce your overall cost to hire, and the time involved in the process. Solutions such as mapping out the stages of an interview, the process, and the key decision makers involved alongside the duration of the process. This is a huge factor in the current market with businesses needing to move quickly to avoid losing top talent to lengthy recruitment processes.
Seek to attract talent in allied industries
Like many industry sectors, businesses are adapting their approach and widening their talent pool by sourcing talent from allied industries. As there are many areas within the renewable energy and clean technology space that are relatively new, attracting skilled and experienced talent, especially at a leadership level with relevant industry experience can be quite difficult. Expanding the talent pool of candidates to allied industries such as traditional energy sources, oil, gas and engineering is an approach many businesses are adopting throughout the skills shortage.
Utilizing various channels to raise brand awareness such as social channels, forums, and media outlets will help increase exposure. Carrying out research into the best channels for your target market is a useful exercise to appeal to a wider pool of candidates within allied industries. Increasing presence at a College or University level can help increase awareness of a potential career within renewable energy for those who have limited understanding of what paths are available and at what type of company. Attracting talent at this level can help businesses progress talent throughout various stages and develop future leaders internally.
Many candidates feel passionate about climate change and how they can contribute to a greener future. If a renewable energy organization can effectively communicate how a role within the company allows individuals the opportunity to work for a business where they can make a difference and contribute to a greener, more efficient future can have an impact on attracting talent. This can be advantageous when seeking to attract talent from more traditional energy sources which have a negative impact on the environment.
Consider your employer brand and how it is perceived
It’s important for organizations to think about how their employer brand is perceived; how they are viewed by potential employees. What do your employees, customers, or suppliers say about you? Think about your offering as a business, your vision, and values; how can potential employees relate to you, and establish if you are the right fit and brand, they want to be a part of. Be transparent with your brand and your culture to demonstrate a genuine and authentic brand that top talent within the renewable energy sector can align themselves to. Partnering with a talent agency that can both inform and sell the ‘gap’ in brand and misconceptions in the market is hugely beneficial. An expert recruiter can act as an extension of your business and a brand ambassador.
Review your benefits package
Employees are looking for more than just a role with a salary. Company benefits packages also play a huge part in the decision process when considering a new career opportunity. Not only do salary offerings need to be competitive, but the entire package on offer must be too. Work-life balance, well-being, and family-related benefits are sought after by candidates so ensure your benefits packages are appealing and competitive. Carrying out a competitor review of benefits both within the renewable energy space and across the market will give a clear picture of what organizations of a similar size and structure offer their employees.
Assess how competitive your salary benchmarks are
A huge challenge experienced by many leaders and hiring managers within renewable energy and clean technology is the fierce competition with salaries. With many organizations keen to retain talent, at CSG talent we have noticed a sharp increase in counteroffers in the last 12 months. This has impacted salary preferences for candidates who have been offered significant increases with existing employers or larger organizations. Many businesses are increasing their salary benchmark to attract talent ahead of their competition, however, for some of the smaller organizations and start-up businesses, there is fewer financial resources to match rising salary expectations.
It’s beneficial to carry out salary benchmark exercises to establish where your organizations sit within the market. This insight will allow you to establish how competitive you are in comparison to other businesses in renewable energy. If there is the scope and financial resources to increase salary ranges, then this will enable you to be more competitive. There are also other considerations focused on benefits available, working pattern,s and development opportunities to sell the whole package to potential candidates.
Enhance your employee experience
Candidates of all levels of seniority from entry level through to Director have increased motivations when it comes to selecting a new role and business to join. In what is already an extremely competitive market, businesses need to set themselves apart and demonstrate an engaging and positive employee experience to attract talent to their organization. Areas to focus on to boost your overall employee experience include:
Hearing feedback from employees and giving them a voiceEvaluate career paths and career development opportunitiesReview your Diversity and Inclusion policies and processesAssess your culture and work environment
Considering all these areas to enhance your employee experience will not only support a successful talent attraction strategy but also talent retention and engagement of employees at all levels. Engaging with a recruitment expert who specializes in the specific area you operate in can be highly beneficial and support your overall talent strategy.
About the author
Dom Ridley heads up the Renewable Energy & Clean Technology Team CSG Talent, supporting clients with successful hiring and talent strategies across North America and EMEA. Dom has in-depth knowledge across all areas of Renewable Energy including Renewable EPC, Renewable Developer and IPP, PV Equipment, Renewable Software, EV Charging, and ESS.