GETI 2022: War for green talent could undermine clean electricity growth

  • Concerns over career progression and ESG prompt 86 per cent of power workers to consider career move to another energy sector
  • Eighty-six per cent say ESG is a factor in decision over where to work
  • Power firms receive lowest average rating for environmental performance (3.34 out of five) of any sector in the survey

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 found that failure to clean up power grids mean many power companies face losing out to renewable rivals in a cross-sector war for green energy jobs.

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 that 86 per cent of power workers would consider leaving for another energy industry in 3 years. ESG concerns are the second biggest driver behind potential resignations and renewables is the first choice for a switch due to its pivotal role in the energy transition.

Eighty-six per cent also say ESG concerns are a factor in deciding whether to leave or join a company, and power firms received the lowest average rating for environmental performance in the industry (3.34 out of 5 stars). With 29 per cent of power professionals also saying their organisation has not adapted to the clean energy transition, indicating that failure to decarbonise grids now poses a major risk to talent retention.

The energy transition is listed as the second greatest challenge facing the sector after COVID-19, due to the significant increase in clean power generation needed to meet global demand for green energy. Yet 45 per cent say their employers have adapted to the energy transition, with 88 per cent welcoming the change, indicating that transitioning to clean power boosts employee satisfaction and retention.

The sector also risks losing talent to outside industries. Three-quarters are considering leaving energy over the next three years with most drawn to the technology industry as the two industries intersect around smart grids. Career advancement, interest in the wider industry and innovation are the top drivers. The industry is also seeing a salary bounce with 42 per cent reporting pay rises and one-fifth seeing a rise of over five per cent as the balance of power shifts towards professionals.

Janette Marx, Chief Executive Officer at Airswift, says: “The convergence of renewables, power and technology around clean smart grids means that skills are increasingly transferrable between these three sectors. The cross-sector war for green energy talent means this is now an employee’s market and we found employees are increasingly empowered to pick employers based on personal values as well as promotion opportunities. Yet the role of clean power and smart grid innovations in decarbonising economies means the sector is perfectly poised to capture an innovative, belief-driven generation.”

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

  • Forty-two per cent report a pay rise compared to 38 per cent last year and 20 per cent report a rise exceeding five per cent, up from 17 per cent in GETI 2021
  • Eighty-six per cent would consider an international transfer in the coming three years compared with 88 per cent in each of the last two years
  • Europe remains the most attractive destination for international transfers at 33 per cent, reflecting the region’s world-leading role in the global energy transition

Kathleen McAllister, Corporate Board Director and former CEO, Transocean Partners, LLC says: “Decarbonisation and electrification of the economy represents an unprecedented technological challenge and this effort hinges on being able to keep and attract tech skills. Companies should embrace and promote sustainable innovation to attract green energy talent.”

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 http://www.getireport.com.

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