Observations and insight on high-level talent acquisition

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year! I hope everyone is enjoying some quality time with their friends and family and recharging for the new year. This is our final blog post of 2018, and we’ll be sharing some of our observations and insight on high-level talent acquisition within the renewable energy market. Thank you to our customers for making 2018 the most successful year on record for EnergeiaWorks. We look forward to helping you with your strategic hires in 2019.

This past year, employment in renewable energy achieved a record: the total number of jobs that have been created globally in clean-tech surpassed 10 million for the first time. China, Brazil, the United States, India, Germany and Japan have remained the world’s largest renewable energy employers, representing more than 70% of such jobs. Europe encompasses five of the world’s top ten countries accounting for installed wind power capacity. Overall, renewable energy hiring in 2018 was extremely strong! Our team at EnergeiaWorks finished the year with a 30% growth in revenue over 2017 and our January 2019 is tracking for a well above-average month. Heading into the new year, our current roster of open positions (73 roles across 29 active hiring clients) is the biggest pipeline in our company’s history. Is this a sign for the remainder of 2019? I believe it is. The ITC and PTC federal tax incentives for wind and solar are scheduled to scale back in 2020. On one hand, these measures could effect investment, development, and construction; but, on the other hand, corporate sustainability and state RPS’s should continue to drive incentives for renewable energy growth.

While our revenue represents just a fraction of the overall hiring in renewable energy, EnergeiaWorks is the largest recruiting firm that exclusively searches clean energy, and I believe our revenue is a good indication of the overall job health in renewables. Throughout the year, we filled roles in wind and solar manufacturing, distributed generation, and utility-scale engineering and construction, commercial and utility-scale project development; as well as new projects in hydroelectricity, offshore wind, energy storage, and waste-to-energy projects. Here’s a snapshot of our revenue by industry and vertical:

  • Solar 77%
  • Energy Storage 12%
  • Hydro 5%
  • Renewables (supporting more than one technology) 4%
  • Offshore Wind 1%
  • Waste to Energy 1%
  • Development 44%
  • Manufacturing (including software) 25%
  • EPC 21%
  • O&M Service 6%
  • Marketing Services 2%
  • Private Equity 1%
  • Distribution 1%

Solar: For the last eight years, EnergeiaWorks’ revenue has always been majority-led by solar within the renewable energy sector. We’re a proud sponsor of the Solar Jobs Census conducted by the Solar Foundation and provide them valuable information for their report. The 2017 census reported its first decline (3.8%) in solar jobs since its inception eight years ago. The US installed 1.7GW of solar PV capacity in Q3 2018, a 15% decrease from Q3 2017, and a 20% decrease from Q2 2018. Experts predict that Q4 2018 will be the largest quarter for utility PV installations since Q4 2016. Most of the uncertainty in solar (ie. module and metal tariffs) have been made certain. I’m expecting the jobs report to indicate that a rebound also happened in job creation in solar.

Onshore Wind: More US energy production comes from wind than solar, yet far less jobs are created in wind energy. 2017 was the first time in history that wind jobs have exceeded 100,000 in the Unites States. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has reported quarterly growth of 28% (Q1), 46% (Q2), and 40% (Q3) in installed wind projects in 2018 over 2017. I’m predicting that the AWEA jobs report will also reflect an increase in job creation.

Offshore Wind: This month marks two years since Deepwater Wind turned on Block Island Wind Farm and became the first operational US offshore wind farm. Since then, thousands of megawatts have been put into development. The 2018 offshore wind conference in Washington DC doubled in size. Six East Coast states currently have 8 GW of committed offshore wind projects, which equates to thousands of jobs. This fact doesn’t even include the 25 GW of pipelined projects in the permitting phase. What once seemed like a far-fetched idea of emulating western Europe new power generation is finally becoming a reality: offshore wind can quickly pass solar and onshore wind energy as the sector with the highest US employment rates within renewables. With three contracts executed in 2018, you can bet that EnergeiaWorks will be staying on top of the developers, manufacturers, and EPCs servicing this industry.

Energy Storage: EnergeiaWorks’ revenue in energy storage has been increasing steadily and consistently over the last four years. Storage jobs were up 284% in 2016 but only 47% in 2017. ESA reports that the US energy storage pipeline doubled this year to nearly 33GW, so I’m curious to see where the 2018 numbers come in. One significant change is the New York Public Service Commission announcement of a mandate to 3,000MW by 2030, which they equate to 27,000 jobs in manufacturing and installation. What if other states or utility commissions create these mandates? Imagine the scope of job development!

If you’d like more information about global jobs in renewable energy, I recommend IRENA’s employment report. Domestically, The Solar Foundation covers important ground with their annual Solar Census, and AWEA issues a comprehensive report for onshore wind jobs in the US. If your company needs assistance with hiring strategy in the new year, please reach out to us to schedule a virtual meeting.

December 1, 2018 William Liuzza

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