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How the Energy Industry Can Win the Talent War

Driven by the International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) dual push for decarbonization in the global energy sector and net-zero emissions by 2050, companies are taking drastic measures toward sustainability. This is especially vital in the energy and resources industry and has already led to smart grid, energy storage and distributed generation developments in the utilities sector. 

Advances like these are necessitating new skilled workers: “electrical engineers with an understanding of power and emerging technologies; technologists who are knowledgeable in software-based programming; and candidates who can adapt to change,” reports Deloitte.

Indeed, “the industry’s biggest workforce issue today is skills,” adds the 2020 U.S. Energy & Employment Report. “New jobs in utilities used to be like old jobs. Now the modernization of infrastructure and the change in generation mix are requiring new skills that are changing on two- and five-year cycles.” The role of a wind turbine technician, for example, didn’t exist until a few years ago.

Technology is infiltrating roles in human resources, IT and customer service — and giving rise to the need for data-related skills and expertise. In addition to technical skills, today’s energy sector workers need to be adept at thinking critically and solving problems. 

Preventing a talent crisis

According to KPMG’s 2021 CEO Outlook survey, leaders across the global energy sector are concerned about an impending talent crisis. “The industry has faced talent and skills shortages before, but there’s a sense that, this time, we may not be able to win the hearts and minds of the talented individuals who have gotten us to where we are today,” the report notes. 

That’s because today’s energy sectors must compete with other industries for the same specialized talent, including programmers and engineers. In this tech talent war, companies outside the energy industry are often more appealing to workers. 

Despite that, in 2019, “more than 40% of software engineer and developer hires were made by nontech companies, up from about a third in 2010,” reported global consulting firm Bain & Company. “The key to overcoming the talent crunch is to widen their funnel of candidates by seeking those with a broader set of desired capabilities — not only technical skills — from a much more diverse pool.”

From reactive to proactive talent acquisition

In order for energy companies to win the talent war, they need to take a proactive approach to talent acquisition. That means making an intentional shift to a forward-thinking strategy. 

A proactive approach requires: 

  • Building out talent pipelines early 
  • Automatically entering candidates in talent pools for nurture and follow-up
  • Real-time visibility into all candidates, internal and external, and their skills
  • An internal mobility plan
  • Integration with your current tool stack, such as Workday

One way talent teams are solving for these needs is by raising the bar on how they manage talent data. Adopting the right tools, such as a talent data platform, can help. 

An artificial intelligence (AI)-powered platform can sift through demographic, contact, career, education, skill, interest, assessment and salary data to quickly arrive at the best-fit talent for any given position. In this way, it can help simplify the search for specialized talent. AI and machine learning power recommendations, personalization and predictions. 

This can help companies create talent pipelines by sourcing candidates and providing a means to nurture them. That pipelining can be the difference between one energy company and its competitors as to which one lands the candidate. Not only that, but it can also save money by eliminating the need for advertising spend. 

Create a diverse and inclusive culture

A proactive approach to talent acquisition has the added benefit of helping make progress toward company diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Diverse, equitable and inclusive companies tend to appeal to a broader audience. The KPMG survey found that more than 25% of CEOs attribute having a diverse and inclusive organization with attracting talent, especially younger generations.

That’s in part because a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture has been proven to improve business outcomes, according to McKinsey. 

A top-down approach to DEI should include the right infrastructure to understand the skills you have and the skills you’re looking for. Taking a proactive approach to talent acquisition that enables talent teams to focus on skills instead of people can help energy companies fulfill their DEI goals. How? By cutting out a layer of information (name, address, age, etc.) that tends to encourage bias and doesn’t help identify good candidates.

Additionally, a proactive approach that includes a talent data platform can help talent teams measure DEI across the talent lifecycle and identify where an issue might lie. This can then lead to improved inclusivity and a culture that attracts more candidates, further helping energy companies win the talent war. 

Learn how Beamery can help energy and resources companies attract, onboard and retain top talent.