GETI 2022: Energy transition tripped by technical skills shortage

Source: press release, 24 March 2022

The sixth annual ‘Global Energy Talent Index’ – GETI
The sixth annual ‘Global Energy Talent Index’ – GETI (illustration: Airswift/Energy Jobline)

The sixth annual Global Energy Talent Index (GETI), the world’s most established and comprehensive energy recruitment and employment trends report, has found that renewables firms are over-reliant on a shallow pool of skills within the sector and risk a talent exodus to outside industries.

The report by Airswift, the global workforce solutions provider for the STEM industries, and Energy Jobline, the world’s leading jobsite for the energy and engineering industries, found hiring managers are more likely to seek technical skills from other green energy firms than in-house or outside, intensifying competition for limited skills within the sector. Yet most professionals say renewables firms should shore up their skills to cope with a changing energy landscape by focusing on offering learning and development, retraining and mentoring for existing employees before hiring outside talent. The focus on outside hires over talent development could also threaten talent retention, with career progression the primary driver for the majority considering leaving.

The report also identified that 77% of renewables professionals would now consider leaving for another industry within 3 years, with technology the most popular choice. Three-quarters would consider leaving for another energy sector with oil and gas and power the most popular due to close skills overlaps. Yet more mobile workers with transferrable skills are also helping the industry with 21% of its workforce joining from other sectors within the last 18 months.

The accelerating energy transition means technical skills are now considered the most important for creating a flexible, future-proof renewable workforce and engineering is the most sought-after technical skill amongst new hires. The skills shortage is also boosting opportunities for professionals by driving up green energy salaries. 40% of professionals report receiving a salary increase compared with 35% last year, and 61% expect a pay rise within 12 months.

Janette Marx, Chief Executive Officer at Airswift, says, “Renewables firms are mostly competing for technical skills within their own sector rather than growing in-house talent or recruiting outside. With career progression and innovation, the main drivers for career changers, companies could attract talent from other industries by offering fast-tracked promotions and the chance to drive renewable innovations such as floating wind platforms. Renewables firms could also offer more international transfer opportunities and project-based work to attract a globally mobile workforce willing to relocate for career progression.”

In addition to providing much-needed insights into the fluctuations of the past 12 months, GETI is also the industry’s most comprehensive salary and mobility study. Key findings within renewables include:

  • The skills gap has sent salaries soaring with 18% of professionals reporting salary increases of more than 5% over the past year – a claim supported by 29% of hiring managers.
  • 86% would relocate for work in the next 3 years and Europe is consistently the first-choice destination for 32% of professionals due to its world-leading position in clean energy.
  • The industry is turning to a mix of international talent and contractors with 31% of the workforce composed of expats and more than half of hiring managers reporting that over 20% of their workforce are contractors.

Johanna Schmidtke, Lecturer, University of Colorado Denver Global Energy Management, says, “Accelerating digitalisation of renewable design and maintenance has created surging demand for digital as well as engineering skills. This has put the sector in direct competition with outside industries such as technology. The new generation of tech talent values self-actualisation and innovation and this ties in perfectly with a renewable industry experiencing major growth and at the vanguard of future energy technology.”

Airswift and Energy Jobline interviewed industry leaders and surveyed 10,000 energy professionals and hiring managers in 161 countries across five industry sub-sectors: oil and gas, renewables, power, nuclear and petrochemicals. The report is available to download at