Sun, sky and sea. While these elements may evoke memories of beach vacations, they also power the switch toward renewable energy. The energy and natural resources (ENR) industry is at the helm of this transition, with many organizations in the sector beginning to invest, use or produce energy through greener means like wind, solar or biofuel, according to a WTW analysis of energy companies. At the same time, these organizations are taking steps to reduce pollutions and the industry’s carbon footprint through methods like curbing methane emissions and embarking on carbon capture/utilization/storage projects.
These changes make it essential that the ENR industry maintains – and potentially expands – its talent pipeline. And this is particularly true after the talent downturn the industry experienced in 2020 when talent fled to other industries to avoid volatility in the sector. To drive talent attraction and retention, the ENR industry is employing multiple strategies.
As noted, the ENR industry is moving toward being more environmentally friendly. Industry employers are spotlighting these initiatives to attract climate-conscious talent, especially recent graduates, who have negative perceptions about the sector. By emphasizing its shift to renewable energy and a walk-the-talk philosophy, ENR employers can influence new workforce entrants to change their perceptions of the industry and encourage them to join in the environmental fight. But to make good on that promise of environmental responsibility, they need the right people in the right roles.
These highly sought roles indicate that the ENR industry is progressing steadily to adopt greener energy sources and need employees who have a unique skillset. Skilled in creating a clean energy strategy, adept at energy transition and management, and well-versed in data analysis and modeling.
The ENR industry is further expanding its eco-friendly message by strengthening its environmental, health and safety (EHS) culture. After all, the industry’s operations have been known to expose workers and the environment to potential hazards.
With initiatives like better waste management, improved employee safety and occupational health and wellbeing coming into focus, the sector is enhancing its EHS culture. At the same time, these measures touch on environmental, social and governance (ESG) agendas. ENR organizations that have improve their ESG performance, particularly fossil fuel firms, have become more attractive to talent as they make their operations safer and more environmentally friendly.
In the pursuit of greener alternatives, the ENR industry also continues to use emerging technologies to improve processes. Industry organizations have deployed robotics and automation systems to re-allocate talent within their organizations and circumvent labor shortages. Moreover, they also have used Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and intelligent devices to transmit data used to maintain equipment and avoid failure.
Going a step further is the concept of digital twins, wherein digital replicas of on-field assets are created to detect early signs of asset failure and prevent unplanned downtime. The ENR sector also is using machine learning, data visualization and business reporting platforms to analyze massive volumes of data across geographies and businesses to derive insights.
While each of these strategies demonstrates that the ENR sector is turning a new leaf, industry organizations are applying them at different speeds – after all, there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to business. Differences in target markets and customer needs will dictate the pace at which each organization moves, and that includes identifying, acquiring and retaining the skills they need to support broader business goals. The best place to start is by conducting a skills analysis to scope the capabilities needed and relying on the data they gather to inform decisions that will drive the organization forward.