The energy and utility sector is moving towards decarbonization, digitalization, and decentralization. As companies unlock business transformation and create a collaborative culture that can thrive in a more complex and competitive environment, they face a significant workforce planning challenge.
There is a skills shortage across industries and it is hitting the energy and utility hard because:
- It is a highly skilled and niche workforce filled with specialized engineers in complex roles in geophysics, artificial lift systems, drilling, reservoir simulation, petroleum geology, and petrochemistry.
- As energy companies compete for digital and tech talent, individuals are excited to work in the high-tech industries.
Younger generations continue to add to the workforce, and they look for companies that are actively addressing environmental, social, and governance issues. Workforce planning must show shared values to attract and retain a qualified workforce.
New Skills for the New Market Realities
New technology, advances in renewable energy, and decarbonization rank as the top three positive drivers of change for utilities over the next three years. As per a survey, nearly 90% of utility executives report having very few workers with the right skills to adopt digital technology.
36% of workforce planning executives agree they respond more effectively to decarbonization than digitalization. 9 out of 10 survey respondents indicate changing the energy source mix and adapting to changing consumer expectations for a cleaner energy economy over the next few years.
Digital skills have a disproportionately large footprint in core power job openings. IT jobs constitute 35% of all utility job openings, the second-highest share of any non-tech industry.
The changes in the sector will require new and enhanced capabilities. Furthermore, more than 55% of respondents say new technologies as one of the three trends that will positively impact their organization.
The pandemic-related disruption has been a catalyst for energy and utility companies to rethink the workplace. It inspires the workforce planning teams to rearchitect the work by deploying digital technologies in concert with human capabilities to transform operations. Accelerating the decarbonization timeline will only expedite the digitalization.
Closing the Skills Gaps in Energy and Utility
The transformational opportunity of decarbonization can provide access to improved employment outcomes for all, particularly the underrepresented groups. A well-executed workforce planning can seize the opportunity to address the skills gaps, talent shortages, and talent acquisition challenges across most of its core occupations amid stiff competition with the other sectors for talent.
The sector may not provide competitive wages for digital skills compared to the tech sector. Still, they are higher than the broader power sector with their decarbonization efforts and could provide a pathway to a transition for workers across the energy industry.
A vital component of this transition is diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce planning to reflect the Biden administration’s specification that 40% of clean energy investments must go to disadvantaged communities.
As utility transitions from grid service to market-oriented ‘fit-for-purpose’ distribution systems, the workforce planning teams need new skills and capabilities across the entire value chain. Process automation specialists, data analysts, business analysts, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning specialists, and software developers are among the roles in high demand and short supply.
The energy and utility industry demands tech and non-tech talent worldwide. Some of the critical in-demand job roles include DevOps Engineer, ML/AI Engineer, Marketing Manager, Full Stack Engineer, Automation Developer, Industrial Sales Engineer, and Site Reliability Engineer.
Moreover, even existing jobs require constant reskilling to adapt to the software, technology, and process changes. The skills gap has implications in workforce planning and for technology rollouts. While data scope and importance have surged, turning data into insights requires critical skills that the utility sector lacks. It could hinder its RoI and not improve its customer service delivery.
Job Role in Review – Business Analyst
Companies across the energy and utility sector compete with their peers across global locations and put their workforce planning on an overdrive. The industry has seen a growth in the Business Analyst role by 12%, with 21,500 jobs globally with top companies in the talent acquisition fray that include GE Power, Schlumberger, Total, PetroChina, equinor, and Veolia.
Business Analyst evaluates past and current business data to improve decision-making processes. They anticipate requirements and uncover areas of improvement, manage projects, develop plans, and monitor performance. The role is spread across four key competencies: technical, analytics & visualization, functional, and management skills.
Bengaluru, Delhi-NCR, Shanghai, Toronto, and New York are the top five locations to acquire talent. The Business Analyst job roles can transition into other job roles in the future. The below infographic illustrates the career path one can take with the Business Analyst job role.
Top employers, namely HP, IBP, and DXC, seek to acquire talent from Indian hotspots for its low cost. At least 54% of the talent pool are at the senior level with 8+ years of experience. The digital tech stack includes JIRA, MySQL, Microsoft VISIO, and Power BI.
Successful Talent Acquisition and Retention in Energy and Utility
There are five critical changes that the energy and utility must make to aid their workforce planning activities:
Changing the company culture – The workforce planning teams must set an employee-centric culture, plan initiatives to enhance employee satisfaction, improve mental health, offer work-life balance, teach new skills, elevate employee responsibility, and increase outreach to underrepresented groups.
Employees want their employers to have a robust environmental agenda, and they prefer organizations with few layers of management.
Promote opportunities in addressing challenges – Millennials and Gen Z with digital skills may see the sector as old-fashioned and carbon-intensive. Hence workforce planning must communicate the unique tech challenges and environmental benefits that a modern grid and distributed energy present – challenges that require smart and digitally savvy employees to solve so that candidates are aware of the opportunities.
Have a diverse talent acquisition plan – Employees like to see enterprises embrace diversity and teamwork, encompassing more than gender and race. Workforce planning must include candidates from different backgrounds and life experiences to maximize creative disruption and enhance problem-solving.
Accentuate career development – Employees expect training and skill development opportunities. Additionally, challenging employees with new experiences or projects help them feel valued and compels them to advocate for your organization.
Eliminate internal silos – The systematic cultural change that the sector may need requires an overarching enterprise-wide strategy supported by a close working relationship across the executive team. Close collaboration improves human capital metrics and higher earnings, including significant productivity and employee engagement improvements, a win for workforce planning.
Draup’s talent intelligence platform amplifies reskilling initiatives. When workforce planning combines the Reskill Navigator with the Path Predictor, they can address skills gap challenges and devise reskilling initiatives.
- Explore roles and get insights into required skillsets and learning plans, and find information on external sources.
- It can aid employee training to analyze signals on adoption trends and skills at a company and segment level.