It’s almost impossible to avoid the subject of the cost-of-living crisis across the UK. With inflation increasing and energy prices rising (though the price cap announced by previous Prime Minister Liz Truss will certainly ease this to some degree), people are understandably worried about pay. For those who work in energy, salary brackets vary – so how do you know if you’re being paid enough?
We take a look at some of the common roles in the energy sector and how much they pay.
Responsible for the installation of solar panels on a range of sites, these professionals need a range of skills, from a knowledge of electrical systems, analytical thinking through to good maths skills. Some form of electrical installation experience and training will be required for a role more senior than an entry-level or apprenticeship position. While apprenticeships vary in terms of salary, an expected starting salary tends to be around the £17,000 / £18,000 per year mark.
Those with more experience can expect to be upwards of £35,000 for their average pay. Of course, it is important to highlight that there is a shortage of engineering skills in solar at the moment, with figures from the Skills for Climate consultation revealing that a staggering 70% of engineering firms in the UK lack the necessary skills – including electrical engineering experience – to meet low carbon targets. Renewable energy engineering experts may be in a good position now to negotiate new salaries or look elsewhere as a result.
People with welding skills – much like many energy experts – are in high demand and short supply at the moment, with shortages being felt across the globe. In fact, the American Welding Society recently revealed that the US will ‘face a shortage of 400,000 welders by 2024.” This talent gap is being felt across the UK and Europe too, putting candidates with experience in a great position to barter for the best remuneration.
In general, those training to become a welder enter the sector through an apprenticeship, though welding courses are available. Those looking to become a welder should expect to be earning around £20,000 for an entry-level position, while those with a few years’ experience under their belt can take home around £34,000 per year.
Nuclear Power Reactor Operator
While there’s no doubt that the renewables movement is picking up pace, demand for experts across more traditional energy remits remains stable across many countries. In the UK, reports that nuclear power stations could be fast-tracked to help solve the energy crisis will only drive up the need for Nuclear Power Reactor Operators – no doubt pushing salaries up as a result.
There’s a varying range of salary brackets for this and similar roles, but overall, an entry-level position should pay between £15,000 to £20,000, while more experienced Nuclear Technicians can expect to hit the £65,000+ mark once they reach the peak of their career.
Transmission Operators have a crucial role to play in ensuring electrical transmission systems are operating efficiently and enabling energy to be transferred between utilities and suppliers. In a more junior position, Transmission Operators can usually earn around the £18,000 mark, though someone with more experience can bring in a wage over £35,000 per year.
However, with transmission systems being constantly upgraded as new digital solutions are developed, those in this role will find that demonstrating adaptability and a willingness to learn will stand them in good stead when negotiating pay.
Wind Turbine Engineer
The wind energy remit is experiencing significant growth and investment, with the Government committing to increasing the UK’s offshore wind capacity to 50 GW by 2030. Along side this growth, the demand for experts in this field will spike, with around 90,000 new offshore wind jobs set to be created by 2028.
Among these hundreds of thousands of jobs will be a demand for Wind Turbine Engineers to ensure turbines can continue to operate efficiently. Those starting out in this role will require engineering training or prior experience, but in an entry-level position a salary of £20,000 is likely. Those with more experience can push for pay up to the £40,000 mark and beyond.
Work in energy – get the right salary
Whether you’re an energy engineer, welder, renewables expert or a newbie starting your career, knowing what salary those with similar skills in similar roles are commanding can be hugely powerful when negotiating a better salary during the cost-of-living crisis.
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