How Will Sustainable Energy Growth Affect the European Job Market?
The renewable energy revolution is well underway. The transition away from fossil fuels in favour of sustainable options like solar and wind power spells good news for the environment — but what does it mean for the European job market?
Last year, wind and solar power overtook gas as Europe’s top source of electricity generation for the first time ever, and close to 40% of the European Union’s electricity comes from renewable sources. And Europe is not alone in making progress on renewable energy.
The International Renewable Energy Agency reports that the number of sustainable energy jobs worldwide jumped from 700,000 to 12.7 million between 2020 and 2021 — a figure the agency predicts could top 38 million by the end of this decade. McKinsey analysts estimate the industry will need another 1.1 million blue-collar workers to develop and build wind and solar infrastructure — and another 1.7 million to operate and maintain them — by 2030.
Recruiting to Support Renewables
Figures like this seem promising for anyone concerned about climate change, which has left Europeans facing unprecedented heatwaves and wildfires. But how will this renewable energy employment trend affect employers, already struggling to recruit and retain qualified staff, when they need to hire millions more to fill emerging sustainable energy jobs?
Demand for workers in the green job market will only climb higher in the coming years. Employers in the industry should take a proactive approach to recruitment and retention to ensure they’re positioned to succeed as sustainable energy further eclipses fossil fuels. Let’s dig into some strategies that can help energy firms build a strong team — and a reliable pipeline of future employees.
Build a Brand That Attracts Talent
Establishing your brand reputation is a vital part of building relationships with customers, but don’t underestimate the effect your brand can have on recruitment and retention. It can be challenging to attract a large, diverse pool of skilled candidates when applicants don’t know who you are or what you do.
Managing your brand can both increase applications and deter candidates who aren’t the right fit — Beamery research indicates that 69% of active job seekers are more likely to apply for a job if the company actively manages its reputation as an employer. And don’t underestimate the importance of regional branding — a strong brand in your home country won’t necessarily mean anything if you’re recruiting in other regions as you expand.
Incentivize Your Staff
This is a period of phenomenal growth for green firms, and renewable energy employees who are able to share in their employers’ success will be more motivated to stay with the company. Stock options, performance bonuses, and equity in newly deployed projects can make your firm more attractive than companies in industries without such high expectations for growth.
Recruit Applicants Early in Their Careers
Competition for skilled renewable energy workers will only increase as the industry continues to grow. Target recruitment efforts at younger applicants in the early stages of their careers to build a workforce whose skills and abilities will develop along with your organisation. Providing these workers with opportunities to develop professionally (which we’ll get to in the next section) will increase their loyalty and the likelihood they’ll stay with you for the long term.
Remember, Gen Z workers have different priorities and interests than other demographics — make sure your hiring initiatives match their expectations.
Offer Opportunities to Grow and Advance
One of the driving factors behind the Great Resignation is workers feeling there is no opportunity for them to advance in their careers. Staff who feel you’re invested in their future will be more likely to invest in yours.
There could even be tax breaks in your country to enable you to reskill employees for sustainable energy roles — a study on tax incentives for sustainable development found that 86% of OECD countries encourage upskilling of employees by offering enhanced deductions of expenditures for training, education, or apprenticeship contracts.
Clearly communicate employee development and advancement opportunities to staff in technical, management, and administrative roles. Recognize team members’ achievements and make hiring internally a standard practice. Sustainable energy companies can also take a leaf from the oil and gas industry’s book and send top staff around the world for new opportunities.
Broaden Your Recruitment Reach
Renewable energy is all about innovation and finding a better way to do things — that principle should apply to recruitment too. Manually posting job advertisements is a time-consuming, costly, and ineffective way to expand your team. Programmatic advertising tools can help you reach a broader, more diverse pool of qualified applicants while reducing your cost per applicant.
Hirematic is here to help support sustainable energy recruitment with a solution that combines the power of automation with the experience and knowledge of our human team. Let us help you find the right candidates at the right time. Contact us today to learn how we can help.