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 massive migration of skills from traditional to renewable sectors.

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According to the report from Airswift and Energy Jobline, the energy and mechanical engineering sectors are facing a growing tech skills shortage, meaning recruiters across all energy sectors are more likely to seek tech skills outside of their company rather than in-house.

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

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

Climate change concerns appear to be a major driver, with more than 80 percent of professionals across all industries saying ESG (environmental, social and governance) is now a factor in whether or not to join an energy company.

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However, many renewable energy workers have also moved into traditional sectors such as oil and gas in the past 18 months and half of fossil fuel professionals said their organization’s ESG policies were “sufficiently robust.” This indicates that recent efforts to reduce carbon emissions are helping to encourage retention and recruitment of workers in traditional energy sectors.

The energy, petrochemical and renewable energy sectors were just as likely or more likely to seek digital skills outside of industry than within other energy sectors. The GETI report found that 30 percent of professionals across all industries identified new digital skills and competencies as the greatest opportunity for their industry in the next three years.

Janette Marx, chief executive officer at Airswift, said the industry’s increasing convergence around clean energy has led to more porous boundaries between sectors, with renewables becoming increasingly attractive due to their sustainability and long-term career prospects.

“Instead of fighting for a limited pool of existing talent, the industry should expand the talent network into sectors like technology where there are increasing overlaps in skills,” Marx said.

“The skills shortage has made this a dream market for workers with strong pay rises in all sectors and a growing willingness among energy companies to hire people from other sectors. An engineer on an offshore oil rig has many of the basic skills needed for an offshore wind-to-hydrogen project. That said, some companies will simply try to fill the skills gaps by automating more jobs and we are already seeing automation ramping up.”

The full Global Energy Talent Index is available for download here

Abhishek Maheswari
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