GETI 2020: Optimistic renewable energy professionals still at risk of poaching by incumbents

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the annual Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) 2020 charted pay gaps between workers in various energy professions globally. Credit: Juwi

The rapidly growing renewable energy industry is opening up new paths for professionals at every level, but as the sector matures, companies must do more than rely on the job satisfaction and ethical motivations inherent in working for renewables to keep its workforce engaged, according to a new report.

The renewable energy sector is, nonetheless, highly optimistic and scores well in many areas in the life of a professional as compared to employees in the more traditional energy sectors, said the fourth edition of the annual Global Energy Talent Index (GETI), a report produced by workforce solutions provider Airswift and job database Energy Jobline.

The study showed the age demographic and regional spread of renewable energy workers globally:

Credit: GETI

In terms of remuneration, 71% of hiring managers in renewables were optimistic of a pay increase, while only 59% reported positive movement this year. Indeed, pay increases were not as abundant as last year, with only around 50% reporting a rise.

“Renewables is the most optimistic sector in terms of pay, and with lots of momentum behind it, the sector is succeeding. Yet, as the data shows, this success may not equate to booming salaries, and for hiring managers, it’s important to keep abreast of sentiment on the ground,” said Janette Marx, CEO at Airswift.

The full tables charting pay gaps between workers in various energy professions globally can be found in the full report here.

The following table, whose data was taken from the report, shows the hierarchy of pay for solar engineers across the globe. This takes into account permanent worker annual salary as a global average based on six year's experience.

Geography Annual salary (US$)
North America 91,007
Australasia 76,591
Europe 72,965
Middle East 55,443
Asia 49,661
Africa 45,425
Latin America 34,059
CIS 27,929

The next table shows the solar contract worker day rate, again for six years' experience:

Geography Salary (US$)
North America 661
Asia 629
Europe 532
Middle East 446
Africa 402
Australasia 383
Latin America 243
CIS 199

Renewable energy workers have a high degree of mobility and are very interested (86%) in relocating to and working from other countries. To draw more workers East, however, the report said Asia must be more vocal in promoting itself to the industry as a desirable market to work within with a large volume of projects to come up in the region in the future.

Renewables professionals on the whole (around 91%) are highly engaged by their work and receive regular training when compared to other sectors.

“This is a great result,” said Hannah Peet, MD at Energy Jobline. “And it bucks the wider trend in the industry wherein younger professionals are less engaged – in renewables many have deep-rooted ethical motivations, which encourage higher engagement.”

“The renewables sector holds more promise than most in terms of professionals’ exposure to career progression as a result of natural market evolution,”  Peet added. “Yet, companies shouldn’t rely on this to get them through; packages and career progression opportunities need to be as competitive as anywhere else on the market.”

Thus, despite the excellent job satisfaction levels, the report said that the renewables sector has its work cut out to stop its professionals from being poached by the incumbent, older power industries. The report also detailed some issues in the skills training and diversity aspects of the industry.

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