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What does recruitment look like in the renewable energy space?

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​The fast-paced growth and demand in the renewable energy sector has resulted in a recruitment lag. Hiring managers are coming under increasing pressure to attract and retain the talent and skills to meet the needs of this ever-growing industry amid a widening skills gap. We review the key recruitment challenges and opportunities in the renewable energy sector to unlock more viable solutions.

The renewable energy sector has expanded rapidly over the past few years. Although a relatively new and emerging sector, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reports that it employed 11.5 million people in 2020, faring better than other sectors that were impacted by the pandemic. As the ambition for the industry grows, so does the need for professionals with a dynamic mindset for learning and development to renew their skills in line with evolving technologies.

HR managers face an array of challenges with the skills shortage being their primary concern. The demand for more candidates with innovative and niche skills coupled with the need for IT expertise in this technology-led market has resulted in fierce competition targeting talent across market sectors. The talent pool has been spread thin and top candidates across industries are considering multiple offers. 

To counter the challenge of finding and retaining the right talent for the renewable energy sector, recruitment acquisition and retention strategies must prioritise career progression opportunities and advancement to avoid job-hopping. Top-tier talent seek competitive progression plans, training programmes, and benefits packages. However, this does not solve the need for the volume of candidates with the required skills to fill essential roles and meet the market demand.  

Globally, renewable energy initiatives are gaining momentum. Countries like the US, China, and Vietnam are driving the production of energy products to meet the accelerating expansion targets of the sector worldwide. Although governments are prioritising the localisation of skills, few have responded to the need like China. The World Economic Forum reported that in 2016, China had 4.7 million recent STEM graduates. According to Forbes statistician Niall McCarthy, the number of Chinese graduates is expected to rise 300% up to 2030, compared to only 30% in the US and Europe. 

While the medium- to long-term initiatives to increase local skills development and transfer for renewable energy persist, to meet the ever-increasing demand for talent in the short-term, a viable recruitment solution is global mobilisation. Identifying, attracting, and securing international talent will help address the talent gap through skills transfer and promote diversity within the organisation. 

Using a recruitment partner to facilitate and support this solution will be invaluable to ensuring successful international placements in the renewable energy sector. As a quality service provider with extensive experience in managing the complexity and sensitivity of the process, we are proficient in conducting pre-employment checks, local compliance, immigration and insurance documentation, language challenges, and person-centric care to support recruiters in their scarce talent search.