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How to source the best engineering talent for Renewable energy projects

As the renewable energy sector continues to grow, so does the demand for skilled engineering talent. 

HR Managers and recruiters face the challenge of sourcing the best candidates to drive projects in BESS (Battery Energy Storage Systems), solar power, EV (Electric Vehicles), wind power, anaerobic digestion, and other renewable areas. 

This blog explores effective strategies to attract the best engineering talent, highlighting the importance of specialised recruitment in the UK’s renewable energy sector.

Understanding the Renewable energy landscape

The UK’s renewable energy sector is thriving, with significant investments and policy support driving its expansion. 

According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), renewable energy sources accounted for 42.9% of the UK’s electricity generation in 2020, with wind power contributing the largest share. 

The sector is expected to continue growing as the UK strives to meet its net-zero emissions target by 2050.

This growth necessitates a robust workforce of skilled engineers and technicians. 

Key sectors within renewable energy include:

  1. Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS): Critical for managing energy supply and demand, BESS projects require engineers with expertise in electrical systems, battery technologies, and energy management.
  2. Solar Power: Engineers in this field need to be proficient in photovoltaic systems, electrical engineering, and project management to ensure efficient installation and maintenance of solar arrays.
  3. Electric Vehicles (EV): The rise of EVs demands engineers skilled in automotive engineering, battery technologies, and electrical systems to support the development and deployment of charging infrastructure.
  4. Wind Power: Engineers working in wind energy need knowledge of mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as experience with turbine technology and offshore project management.
  5. Anaerobic Digestion: This sector requires engineers with expertise in bioprocessing, environmental engineering, and waste management to convert organic waste into biogas.

5 strategies for sourcing the best engineering talent

  • Leverage specialised recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies that specialise in renewable energy, such as Astute People, possess industry-specific knowledge and extensive networks of qualified candidates. 

These agencies can quickly identify and engage with professionals who have the necessary skills and experience, saving HR Managers time and resources.

  • Utilise online job boards and professional networks

Posting job openings on industry-specific job boards and professional networks can help attract candidates with the right expertise. 

Platforms including LinkedIn – where Astute has 34,000+ followers – are valuable resources for reaching potential candidates who are actively seeking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

Furthermore, as part of Astute’s People Plus talent solution, Astute is able to give clients access to niche job boards.

  • Attend industry conferences and career fairs

Participating in renewable energy conferences and career fairs provides opportunities to meet potential candidates face-to-face. 

Events like the RenewableUK Global Offshore Wind conference and All-Energy Exhibition, which I recently attended in Glasgow, are excellent venues for networking and showcasing your company’s commitment to renewable energy.

  • Develop university partnerships

Establishing partnerships with universities that offer renewable energy and engineering programs can help build a pipeline of young talent. 

Offering internships, co-op programmes, and scholarships can attract top students and foster long-term relationships with future engineers.

  • Promote company culture and values

Engineering professionals are increasingly seeking employers who are committed to sustainability and positive environmental impact. 

Highlighting your company’s values, culture, and contributions to renewable energy projects can make your organisation more attractive to potential candidates.

Businesses partnering with Astute on a People Plus solution are seeing higher advert traction as a direct result of leveraging our well-established social media presence.

Addressing challenges in Renewable energy recruitment

  • Skills shortage

The Renewable energy sector is experiencing a skills shortage, particularly in specialised engineering roles. 

According to a report by RenewableUK, the industry will need to fill over 27,000 roles by 2030 to meet its growth targets. 

To address this, companies must invest in training and development programs to upskill their existing workforce and attract new talent.

  • Ageing workforce

Many experienced engineers in the renewable energy sector are approaching retirement, creating a gap in expertise. 

Succession planning and knowledge transfer programs are essential to ensure that critical skills and knowledge are passed on to the next generation of engineers.

  • Competition for talent

With the increasing demand for renewable energy professionals, competition for top talent is fierce. 

Offering competitive salaries, benefits, and opportunities for career advancement can help attract and retain skilled engineers. 

Additionally, flexible working arrangements and a focus on work-life balance can make your company more appealing to potential candidates.

Renewable energy recruiters will be able to advise the best way to optimise job adverts and salary and benefit packages.

Sourcing the best engineering talent for renewable energy projects requires a strategic approach that leverages specialised recruitment agencies, online job boards, industry events, university partnerships, and strong employer branding. 

By addressing the challenges of skills shortages, an ageing workforce, and competition for talent, HR managers can ensure their organisations are well-positioned to lead the charge in the UK’s renewable energy sector.

Astute People: Sourcing the best engineering talent across the Renewable sector

At Astute People, we specialise in recruiting professionals with technical and engineering expertise for the renewable energy sector, including BESS, solar power, EV, wind power, and anaerobic digestion. 

Our industry knowledge and extensive network enable us to connect you with the best candidates to drive your projects forward. 

Contact us today to learn how we can help you source the best engineering talent needed for your Renewable energy initiatives.

About the author

Tim Norford is Head of Renewable Recruitment at Astute People and specialises in senior-level recruitment on a permanent and contract basis across the sector.

Connect with Tim on LinkedIn.