GETI 2022: Nuclear professionals deeply divided over green energy prospects

  • 42 per cent cite the clean energy transition as the sector’s greatest opportunity over the next three years but 32 per cent say it represents the biggest challenge
  • 52 per cent have adapted to the energy transition but 29 per cent have not
  • Most endorse their organization’s ESG policy but also rate nuclear second lowest in the industry for environmental performance

LONDON, UK, 22 March 2022, The sixth annual Global Energy Talent Index (GETI), the world’s most established and comprehensive energy recruitment and employment trends report, has revealed a nuclear workforce deeply divided over the impact of the energy transition on the sector.

The report by Airswift, the global workforce solutions provider for the STEM industries, and Energy Jobline, the world’s leading jobsite for the energy and engineering industries, found the transition to clean energy is seen as the sector’s greatest opportunity (referenced by 42 per cent of respondents) but also cited as its second greatest challenge.

The industry also appears somewhat divided in its response to green energy with 52 per cent saying their organization has changed direction to accommodate the clean energy transition, while almost 30 per cent have not. Despite most nuclear professionals saying their organization’s ESG policy is sufficiently ambitious and robust, nuclear also received the second lowest employee rating for environmental performance of any energy sector in the survey.

Reflecting a global political tussle over whether to classify nuclear as a sustainable fuel, geopolitical challenges emerge as a key challenge over the next three years for 28 per cent of respondents. In the wake of a nuclear slowdown across the EU with Germany and Belgium closing reactors, Europe has now slipped behind America as the top transfer destination for nuclear professionals. There is also a division of opinion over the sector’s pay prospects with 75 per cent of hiring managers reporting pay has increased vs only 37 per cent of professionals.

Janette Marx, Chief Executive Officer at Airswift, says: “The sector is in a state of limbo over its role in green energy as politicians continue to debate whether nuclear can be classified as sustainable. Yet nuclear has one of the most secure and stable workforces of any energy sector and 26 per cent of the current workforce have joined from another sector in the last 18 months. There is a clear opportunity for nuclear to promote itself as offering stable long-term employment at a time when job security is in short supply across the energy industry.”

In addition to providing much-needed insights into the fluctuations of the past 12 months, GETI is also the industry’s most comprehensive salary and mobility study. Further key findings within nuclear include:

  • Fifty-four per cent of professionals expect a pay rise in the coming year with 27 per cent expecting a rise of more than five per cent
  • Eighty per cent cite ESG as a factor in joining or remaining with a business and 55 per cent say it is a major factor
  • Professionals awarded the sector average scores of 3.44, 3.6 and 3.5 out of five stars for environmental, social and governance issues respectively

Steven Brabec, Manager – Nuclear Project Technical Support at Dominion Energy says: “Divisions of opinion over the sector’s role in green energy are reflected everywhere and recently played out in the debate over whether the EU should classify nuclear a sustainable fuel. I can’t think of another sector that splits opinion like this-some see nuclear as an essential source of zero carbon energy, while others still see it as comparable to fossil fuels. The ongoing political wrangling has led to many nuclear projects being suspended or shut down in Europe, which is denting the region’s popularity among professionals.”

Airswift and Energy Jobline interviewed sector experts and surveyed 10,000 energy professionals and hiring managers in 166 countries across five industry sub-sectors: oil and gas, renewables, power, nuclear and petrochemicals. The report is available to download at

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