Report: Renewables firms increasing salaries in bid to retain sought-after green skills

A quarter of global renewable energy workers received a significant pay rise last year, with the sector scrambling to prevent staff from leaving to work for technology or fossil fuel firms as their skills become more sought-after.

Report: Renewables firms increasing salaries in bid to retain sought-after green skills

The latest Global Energy Talent Index (GETI), including the results of research among 12,000 energy professionals across 149 nations, reveals a growing green skills gap that is making workers with renewable energy expertise ever more sought-after.

Published by recruitment firm Airswift, the GETI reveals that 51% of low-carbon energy workers received a pay rise last year. 24% of the workforce stated that the pay rise was in excess of 5%.

The raises on offer were even steeper and more common for engineers and hiring managers.

Salary optimism is also high – despite current economic headwinds, three-quarters of global clean energy workers expect a pay rise before the end of 2024.

For the vast majority of roles, average pay is highest in North America for contract workers, and in Australasia for in-house salaried workers.

Airswift has attributed this trend of pay rises partly to the need for pay to keep pace with high inflation and interest rates, with firms keen to retain and support staff amid increases in the cost of living. But another key factor is increased competition for green skills.

A third of the clean energy workers polled said they have been headhunted six or more times in the past year.

And four in ten said they are open to moving to another energy sector. The power sector proved to be the most popular choice for a potential move, but four in ten of those open to a move said they would be keen to work in oil and gas.

Digital transformation

Additionally, the GETI reveals that technology is now the top outside industry of choice for a career change for clean energy workers. Three in ten said they would consider moving to a technology firm.

The report states that the accelerating digitization of renewables industries is creating skill overlaps with the technology sector. This includes the field of skills relating to artificial intelligence (AI).

A third of renewables professionals said they already use AI in their day job, with adoption more advanced than in other energy sectors. A further 13% say they expect to adopt AI by mid-2024.

The most common use of AI in renewables at the moment is to automate project management processes including staff collaboration. Many firms are also using data analytics to optimise energy production and energy efficiency.

Most GETI respondents state that they believe AI adoption is beneficial for their skillset and careers. Six in ten foresee improved career progression opportunities and the majority see AI working alongside – rather than replacing – human capabilities.

Airswift chief executive Janette Marx said: “By its nature, the renewables industry is at the cutting edge of AI, with many companies exploring use cases and improving performance that will inspire others to take the leap.

“ In this fast-paced sector, professionals are unafraid to vote with their feet to unlock AI-related career progression, job satisfaction and work-life balance; renewables companies will need to stay on the front foot with AI to retain talent.

“In parallel, those professionals who spend time learning new skills stand to improve their career prospects by differentiating themselves from other candidates.“

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