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

Considering whether to apply for a new job requires careful thought.  Whether it’s financial motivators such as salary or bonuses, work-life balance such as the possibility to work flexibly or remotely, training and development opportunities or making sure that the company culture ties in with your own values, there are many factors that can influence a person’s decision.

The findings from our Energy Outlook 2021 report, which was produced in association with Brunel International, the global leader in energy workforce solutions, revealed that almost three in four (73%) employees are looking to move roles. So, what are the job desirables sought by employees and jobseekers when assessing the merits of working for an organisation. And, perhaps more importantly, what are the reasons that might stop them doing so?

Health & Safety improvements

Interestingly, the top drivers cited by employees that influence a career move were the ‘Health & Safety reputation’ of the energy industry employer (chosen by 50.1%) and ‘political turbulences and instability’ (48.1%). This is a clear indicator that candidates place a high value on a company’s track record in health and safety. The impact of a negative geo-political situation isn’t to be underestimated either. Around a fifth of respondents, however, did not have any concerns about the two points above.

Given the potential for safety risks in the industry, it is not surprising that this should be a top priority. Health & Safety has become a business imperative and is a key differentiator in the attraction of talent. In fact, Alex Fourlis, Managing Director of Oil and Gas Job Search talked of the “the importance of Health & Safety in driving career choices” in our report.

On a positive note, seven in ten respondents said that they were ‘confident’ or ‘very confident’ that the energy industry did in fact offer a ‘safe’ working environment. Similarly, employers recognise that their reputation on Health & Safety is critical – companies in Africa (79%) and Asia (77%) were especially aware of this given that their regions rank the highest for compliance concerns. Unsurprisingly, three quarters of African employees were worried for their safety, eclipsing the numbers in North America (53%) and Europe (50%).

The importance of Health & Safety and compliance was further reinforced by the responses of those looking at new job opportunities in the energy sector. An emphatic 85% said that Health & Safety was of ‘high importance’ with over six in ten (61%) stating that it was ‘essential’. Over a third (36%) had concerns about compliance globally, with the Middle East (30%), India (30%) and West Africa (29%) regions ranking the highest.

Almost two thirds (63%) of permanent employees and contractors currently in jobs said they were confident with their employers’ Health & Safety policies and procedures. Alarmingly though, fewer than half of companies regularly monitor their Health & Safety procedures to carry out improvements.   

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

Third on the list of influencers that put candidates off a role was a ‘lack of clarity regarding position or location’ (41.5%), which to some degree highlights the need for more comprehensive job descriptions to be available for jobseekers. What this also illustrates, though, is the need for both transparency around the responsibilities of a role and clarity as to a company’s employee value proposition (EVP).

This was followed closely by ‘lack of access to reliable medical treatment’ (39.2%), with the importance of physical wellbeing in a role clearly highly rated by jobseekers. Employees working in energy and utilities have had to take into consideration the wishes of their families who would rather they didn’t work in ‘some locations’ (17.2%). ‘Excessive travel’ (16.9%) and ‘changing or unstable weather conditions’ (12.1%) were other reasons mentioned by those surveyed. The factor least likely to sway an individual’s choice was linked to family but this time it was their ‘reluctance’ for the individual to ‘perform in some sectors’ (9.2%).   

Another priority area for those in energy careers is the quality of training, particularly in Health & Safety. Just over half (57%) didn’t think that their employer was meeting the highest standards in this domain, while staggeringly 13% said that they were either receiving ‘basic’ or no training at all. A third of respondents felt that their organisation should invest more in their Health & Safety programmes, 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 sector is certainly highly rewarding, but it’s important for any jobseeker to ensure they are making the right decision. The above provides an outline of some of the main considerations to take on board – what else sways your decision to go for a new role? Comment below

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