Why renewables is struggling to recruit

The renewables sector continues to see exponential growth, but businesses operating in this thriving space are still struggling to recruit the qualified candidates they need.

One of the key challenges is coming from the UK construction sector; as a more established industry, employers are often able to offer significantly higher salaries than those in renewables.

This, in turn, has the potential to create a ‘brain drain’ in the sector, where there are fewer incentives for qualified and experienced candidates to move into renewable energy.


Struggling to compete

Project Managers, for instance, are greatly needed in all renewables sub-sectors right now, from solar PV to wind power and geothermal energy.

Yet Project Management roles in construction are able to recruit much more quickly, largely because the salaries offer tend to average at least £10,000 more than those offered to Project Managers in renewables.

Even in established sub-sectors like solar, there’s still a shortage of qualified candidates. In today’s market, an experienced PV installer can easily command up to £45,000; so they’re not going to consider a role that’s offering as little as £25,000.


Evening the scales

The fact is, renewables businesses will continue to experience recruitment challenges until salaries are more in line with industry averages.

The obvious solution, of course, is to salary-match. But that might not always be possible for relatively new renewables businesses.

Closing the wage gap even a little will help, but if you simply can’t move on the package you’re offering right now, it will be essential to provide enough other incentives to make the role worthwhile.

These could include perks like private health insurance, gym membership, excellent career progression routes, regular training, home office equipment allowances, a generous pension scheme or a company car – but these alone may not be enough.


Offering a better balance

One way renewables businesses can begin to recruit more effectively is to provide two benefits that are not always freely offered in other sectors; flexible working options, and a generous holiday allowance.

We already know from decades of research that many employees are prepared to take a slight pay cut if it means more holiday, and in the age of work-life balance, that’s a valuable incentive.

So what’s ‘generous’? The standard allowance is 20 days leave per year, with Bank Holidays on top of that. Therefore, offering 25 or even 30 days could make your role much more attractive.

Recently, we’ve seen employers in other sectors trialing unlimited holiday allowance, which can work with a lot of trust on both sides.


Prepare to be flexible

In terms of flexible working, this is basically essential in 2023. Being willing to accommodate each staff member’s specific needs is helpful – whether it’s dropping their kids off or having some flexibility around starting and finishing times so those with a long commute can avoid rush-hour.

And in fact, did you know that employees have the right to request flexible working after 26 weeks in any role?

So, our three key take-away’s for attracting the talent you want this year? Close the salary gap as much as possible, be generous with holidays and be willing to provide flexibility. You’ll have a much better chance to recruit the high-calibre candidates you need.

If you’ve had a role open for a while or you’d like our advice on how you can make your offer more appealing to the industry’s top talent, we’re here to help. Get in touch with A&D today.

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