Clean energy sector faces talent scarcity
Dubai, June 8, 2008
The world’s fast growing clean energy industry is facing a new obstacle to further expansion - a shortage of human capital, according to a new study.
The study of top-level recruitment in the clean energy sector, produced jointly by New Energy Finance, a leading clean energy investment analysis provider, and Heidrick & Struggles, an international executive search firm, pinpointed the areas where recruitment difficulties are greatest.
According to Ayman Haddad, managing partner (Middle East & North Africa) of Heidrick & Struggles, the issue is a major concern in sub-sectors such as wind and solar energy and bio-fuels, as investment in specialist businesses climbs rapidly.
“While the global clean energy industry faces this serious issue, in the Middle East there is a huge opportunity, simply because the oil and gas sector is the principal training ground for future managers in the clean energy sector,” he said.
“As well as this, with this region’s large population of young people, we have a huge pool of future talent, providing there is a focus on education and training to address this need. Indeed, the Middle East has the potential to be the world’s talent “bread basket” in the clean energy sector,” he said.
New Energy Finance figures show that investment in clean energy worldwide in 2007 reached $148.4 billion, up 60 per cent on the previous year. However, the central finding of the research is that business leaders regard the recruitment issue facing the sector as a serious challenge with 37 per cent of respondents saying it is “very serious”, a further 59 per cent describing it as “moderately serious” and only 4 per cent as “not serious”.
Senior managers also said that finding executives to drive the growth of their businesses was a key challenge for the next 12-18 months, at least comparable with other concerns such as the availability of projects and assets, capital availability and cost, and government and regulatory support.
Another conclusion was that firms are having to look hard outside their sector for top-level recruits. Just 32 per cent of respondents said that most staff came with significant experience in the clean energy sector. A larger number (48 per cent) said most recruits came with experience in the traditional energy sector, while 31 per cent said they had significant experience in “other young, high-tech industries”.