Career Tips

What to look for in a new energy role in 2021

With renewable energy now overtaking fossil fuels as the UK’s leading electricity supplier and with a host of major projects underway, there has never been a better time to work in an industry powered by so many different energy sources. Whether you are looking to develop your career path in wind, solar, clean energy or sustainable energy, there are many options available to you in the private sector, but what should you look for in a new energy role?

Evaluating whether applying for a new job requires careful consideration. Whether it’s financial incentives like pay or bonuses, work-life balance such as being able to work flexibly or remotely, training and development opportunities, or getting your corporate culture tied to your values, there are many factors which can influence an individual’s decision.

The results of our Energy Outlook 2021 report, produced in conjunction with Brunel International, a world leader in energy workforce solutions, revealed that nearly three in four employees (73%) are looking to change roles. So, what are the job aspirations that employees and job seekers seek when evaluating the merits of working for an organization. And, perhaps more importantly, what are the reasons that might prevent him from doing so?

Health and safety improvements

Interestingly, the main drivers identified by employees who influenced career transformation were the energy employer’s “health and safety reputation” (chosen by 50.1%) and “political turmoil and instability” (48.1%). This is a clear indicator that applicants place a high value on a company’s health and safety history. Nor should the impact of a negative geopolitical situation be underestimated. However, around a fifth of respondents did not express any doubts about the previous two points.

Given the potential for safety risks in the industry, it is not surprising that this should be a top priority. Health and safety has become a business imperative and is a key differentiator in attracting talent. In fact, Alex Fourlis, CEO of Oil and Gas Job Search, spoke about “the importance of health and safety in driving career choices” in our relationship.

On a positive note, seven out of ten respondents said they were “confident” or “very confident” that the energy industry actually offers a “safe” working environment. Equally, employers recognize that their health and safety reputation is paramount: companies in Africa (79%) and Asia (77%) were particularly aware of this, as their regions are the highest for compliance issues. Unsurprisingly, three-quarters of African workers are concerned about their safety, echoing the numbers in North America (53%) and Europe (50%).

The importance of Health and Safety and Compliance was further reinforced by the responses of those looking to new job opportunities in the energy sector. An empathetic 85% said health and safety was of “great importance”, with over six in ten (61%) saying it was “essential”. More than a third (36%) had concerns about compliance globally, with the Middle East (30%), India (30%) and West Africa (29%) regions the highest.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of the employees and permanent contractors currently involved said they were confident with their employers’ health and safety policies and procedures. However, alarmingly, less than half of companies regularly monitor their health and safety procedures for improvements.

What else should you look for in a new energy role?

Third on the list of influencers discouraging applicants from a role was a “lack of clarity about position or location” (41.5%), which to some extent highlights the need for job seekers to have more comprehensive job descriptions available . What this also demonstrates, however, is the need for transparency about role responsibilities and clarity about a company’s employee value proposition (EVP).

This was closely followed by a “lack of access to reliable medical care” (39.2%), with job seekers clearly appreciating the importance of physical well-being in a role. Workers working in the energy and utilities sectors had to consider the wishes of their families who would rather not work in “some areas” (17.2%). “Excessive travel” (16.9%) and “fluctuating or unstable weather conditions” (12.1%) were other reasons cited by respondents. The factor that was least likely to influence an individual’s choice was related to family, but this time their “reluctance” for the individual to “perform in some sectors” (9.2%).

Another priority area for those with a career in the energy sector is the quality of training, especially in health and safety. Just over half (57%) did not think their employer met the highest standards in this industry, while a staggering 13% said they received “basic” training or even no training at all. One third of respondents believe that their organization should invest more in its health and safety programs, particularly in Africa and the Middle East.

With the drive to reduce carbon emissions and increase efficiency, the energy sector is at the forefront of technological innovation to develop energy storage solutions. A career in the industry is certainly rewarding, but it’s important for any jobseeker to make sure he makes the right decision. The above provides an overview of some of the key considerations: what else influences your decision to fill a new role? Comment below


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