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‘Talent emergency’ looms for power sector

Specific skills gap include leadership, problem-solving and process management while renewables provides the biggest source of competition

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Competition between power sectors for talent is fierce
Competition between power sectors for talent is fierce

Almost half of all power professionals are concerned about an impending talent emergency but for one third, the skills shortage is already here a new study finds.

 

According to the third annual Global Energy Talent Index (Geti), power companies face a difficult task balancing the need to address current talent shortages with adapting to the changing skills needs resulting from digitalisation.

 

Engineering worst hit

 

The report was released by Airswift, a global workforce solutions provider for the energy, process and infrastructure sectors and Energy Jobline, a jobsite for the energy and engineering industries,

 

The problem is most profound in engineering, with almost two thirds of respondents (62 per cent) citing that as the discipline most affected by talent shortages, with project leadership a distant second on 22 per cent. When it comes to specific skills gaps, problem-solving (29 per cent), leadership (19 per cent) and process management (13 per cent) lead the way.

 

Renewables provides the biggest source of competition for talent, with 47 per cent of those open to switching sectors attracted to the industry, followed by oil and gas on 40 per cent.

 

“In recent years, Geti has proven hugely successful at providing hiring managers with the insights they need to manage the expectations of the energy workforce. This year is no different, as we respond to what they told us was their biggest concern: the energy skills gap,” said Janette Marx, chief executive officer at Airswift.

"The power sector needs to do a better job of marketing itself to young, digitally-inclined talent. Otherwise, transformations like the smart grid can’t fulfil their full potential”

“The need for more engineers points to an industry concerned with meeting its immediate needs, but the skills respondents identified are exactly those you need to successfully manage change – something firms will be doing a lot of as they adapt to automation. It looks as though the power sector has one eye on the present and one firmly on its digital future.”

 

“Competition between sectors remains as fierce as ever, but power businesses are set up very well for success. The sector has done a fantastic job of offering stability, security and steadily-increasing remuneration. Furthermore, hiring managers understand what those skill shortages are and know where to go to alleviate them,” added Hannah Peet, managing director at Energy Jobline.

 

“The next step is to take action. Graduate training schemes and increased use of apprenticeships will help, but the power sector needs to do a better job of marketing itself to young, digitally-inclined talent. Otherwise, transformations like the smart grid can’t fulfil their full potential.”

 

More than 17,000 energy professionals and hiring managers were surveyed for the report in 162 countries across five industry sub-sectors: oil and gas, renewables, power, nuclear and petrochemicals.

 

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