Power sector faces heavy skill shortages

The third annual Global Energy Talent Index (GETI), the energy recruitment and employment trends report, has revealed that power companies face a difficult task balancing the need to address current talent shortages with adapting to the changing skills needs resulting from digitalisation.

The report by Airswift, the global workforce solutions provider for the energy, process and infrastructure sectors, and Energy Jobline, the jobsite for the energy and engineering industries, indicates that 48% of power professionals are concerned about an impending talent emergency, with 32% believing the crisis to have already hit the sector and 38% reporting that their company had been affected by skills shortages.

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

Janette Marx, Chief Executive Officer at Airswift, said: “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.

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“And the power chapter makes for interesting reading. 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.”

In addition to providing much-needed insights into the skills gap, GETI also provides a salary and mobility survey. Key findings within power include:

• Remuneration is on the up. 57% of non-hiring professionals report an increase in pay over the past 12 months, with 29% citing a raise of more than five percent
• 74% of non-hiring professionals anticipate further pay rises in 2019 – with 44% expecting remuneration to rise by more than five percent
• 90% of professionals would consider relocating to another region for their job, with career progression opportunities the number one factor attracting talent to a region.
• Renewables provides the biggest source of competition for talent, with 47% of those open to switching sectors attracted to the industry, followed by oil and gas on 40%

Hannah Peet, Managing Director at Energy Jobline, added: “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.

“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.”

Airswift and Energy Jobline surveyed more than 17,000 energy professionals and hiring managers in 162 countries across five industry sub-sectors: oil and gas, renewables, power, nuclear and petrochemicals. The report is available to download at