Monday, 15 September 2008

Day 1: “A Working Week to Solve the Wind Energy Talent Shortage”

Over the next five days Clare Buxton will be looking at how to manage the talent shortage in the Wind Energy sector, whether you’re hiring or looking to be hired.


Is the Shortage Real? Yes!

My work activity is dedicated to identifying key individuals and emerging talent in the Wind Energy market. For the past 6 months the rapid growth of the industry has allowed me to focus my attention to the development of the Wind Energy sector, and since April I have barely come up for air! Day in and day out, I build relationships with these individuals to understand what makes them tick, and to understand what skill sets they possess and wish to develop; I help them to grow their career in a direction that benefits them, but that will also benefit the clients I work with – developers, consultancies and manufacturers – to achieve their goals as well. And ambitious goals, at that.

One thing is very clear: there genuinely is a talent shortage in the Wind Energy industry. The market is growing at 20-25% a year. One of the major wind turbine manufacturers told me that to retain their market share in 2020 their turbines would need to be generating 10 times as much energy. This increased activity will mean they need to hire 100s of executives and technical specialists (as well as more junior staff) over the next few years. This industry is massively incentivised by government targets, environmental and scientific debates, as well as a general excitement and buzz around the potential of developing a sustainable future.

But do we have the global skill-sets to keep up?

Are there enough qualified professionals to allow every company contributing to the wind energy sector to experience the growth they are planning for?

There is no shortage of recent graduates and seasoned professionals from other disciplines who want to get into the industry. We receive many unsolicited CVs and emails from MSc graduates and engineers, as well as business developers, from turbo-machinery or traditional power generation backgrounds, telecommunications and aerospace. There is nothing more attractive than a thriving and recession-proof industry. But the real difficulty that organisations in our space are facing is that they all believe they “need” experienced individuals who have been there and seen that, and know what to do when X scenario happens, or Y scenario occurs. The market is moving at such a pace that companies do not feel they have the time to train someone from scratch (however promising they may seem).

“We need them now and we need them ready to roll”

This is a phrase we are accustomed to hearing in the EcoSearch office! But why is there a talent shortage? Tomorrow we take a closer look…

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