GETI 2023: Nuclear sector faces more competition for talent than any energy sector

  • Nuclear sector risks losing skills as its workers receive a greater volume of job offers than any other energy sector.
  • Nuclear workers least likely of any energy sector to get a pay rise next year and workers are the most dissatisfied in the industry.
  • Fossil fuel price and pay rises mean oil and gas is now the most popular sector for nuclear workers to join.

LONDON, UK, 14th February 2023: Airswift’s seventh annual Global Energy Talent Index (GETI), the world’s most established and comprehensive energy workforce trends report, released today, has revealed that the nuclear workforce is now the most sought-after in the energy industry and that critical nuclear skills could thus be lost to rival sectors.

The nuclear workforce is heavily in demand across the industry with 83 per cent of nuclear workers headhunted in the last year, and 19 per cent receiving 11 or more approaches, the highest of any energy sector. Nuclear workers are twice as likely as their oil and gas and petrochemicals peers to be approached for jobs by companies from an outside industry.

Three-quarters of nuclear respondents would consider leaving their sector, with oil and gas now the most popular destination in the industry. This indicates that the recent fossil fuel price boom could cause an exodus of nuclear workers. Technology is the most popular outside industry, as chosen by one-in-four respondents.

The survey suggests that low pay could drive a skills exodus with only 59 per cent of hiring managers expecting salaries to rise next year, the lowest of any energy sector. As a result, nuclear job satisfaction is currently the lowest in the industry on 62 per cent with nuclear workers also the most likely to say remuneration is the biggest driver of high job satisfaction.

Remuneration has also overtaken culture as the third biggest driver of workforce relocation to other regions. And lack of career progression is the biggest driver of job dissatisfaction for 63 per cent, also the highest of any sector.

Janette Marx, CEO at Airswift, says: “Nuclear workers have many transferrable skills from hazardous materials to legacy engineering and their status as the energy industry’s most sought after workforce needs to be reflected in their salaries. Job dissatisfaction is also being driven by lack of career progression and this indicates that employers need to offer more fast-track routes up the career ladder.

“While countries such as the US have not seen newbuild reactors for a long time, a raft of exciting new projects from Europe to the Middle East bring new opportunities for greater pay and quicker promotions.”

Christopher Sweet, Senior Project Manager at Energy Northwest, says: “The relatively pessimistic pay forecasts and low rates of job satisfaction across the nuclear workforce are a red flag for the sector. Amidst growing competition for skills, improving pay and career prospects are now vital to retaining our skills base. New nuclear innovations such as small modular reactors that can be built faster with fewer cost overruns should help the sector offer fresh career prospects and attractive pay packages.”

Further findings include:

  • Reflecting a slower rebound in salaries post-COVID, remuneration has overtaken culture as the third biggest motivator for those considering relocation.
  • In response to growing momentum behind new nuclear in regions such as Asia, 69 per cent of employers now promote cross-regional job transfers – the highest of any sector.
  • Sixety-nine per cent of nuclear firms have been affected by rising supply chain costs, and respondents in the sector are more likely than any other to say they have suffered reduced profits and revenues as a result.

Airswift interviewed sector experts and surveyed 10,000 energy professionals and hiring managers of 149 nationalities across five industry sub-sectors: oil and gas, renewables, power, nuclear and petrochemicals. The report is available to download at

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