As part of our Inform series of Thought Leadership pieces we present our views on how we can make the Energy Sector more attractive to young people; looking into several areas including effective marketing, engagement and how to improve diversity.
Inform: Promoting the Energy Sector as an Attractive Place to Work
What is the Energy Sector? Where would I fit in at the Big Six? Why does the Energy Sector need new staff, we all get enough energy in the UK? Just some of the myriad of questions that may pass through students, a young professional, or even a seasoned professionals mind when it comes to them thinking about applying for a job in the Energy Sector.
So how do we overcome this, and attract the talent needed across the ever expanding spectrum of roles within the Energy Sector? We have identified three key areas to target below:
Organisations such as The Royal Navy (“A life without limits”), General Electric (“Childlike Imagination”) and RenewableUK (“Faces of Wind Energy”) have used a successful form of “Direct Marketing” for recruitment by using current employees to tell their personal story about what they do, how they got to be in that position and the positive benefits that it brings.
The personal, “non-corporate” approach is a proven way of informing, persuading and influencing individuals, or a group’s decision as it is human nature to make a connection with another person, rather than relying on an object, or in this instance, a typical job description.
It’s not just the type of marketing that is used, but also the platforms it is used on. The average age of an employee in the Energy Sector is 45, which falls into Generation X. Today’s recruitment drive for tomorrow’s leaders won’t be focused on Generation X, but Millennials and Generation Z, both of which have a very different relationship and expectations from marketing that could differ from those who may be in charge of it.
Gone are the days of posting jobs adverts in the national and local papers, so too are referrals through family and friends. The next generation of leaders are online. Social Media in the form of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, to name but a few, and with the average usage being two hours per day plays a huge role in influencing. A simple campaign such as that of Jaz Rabadia (Starbucks) where she has used the hash tag of #mydayinenergy to post pictures across social media of the different experiences she has, as she goes about her working day, is simple, open to the world.
A major misconception of the Energy Sector is that you need an engineering background to work within it. While this is true in some roles where a mechanical, electrical or software engineer is required, people forget that there is a vast range of careers within the Energy Sector. Finance, Advisors, Legal, Sales and Business Development, Commercial, HR, Marketing, Hospitality, Environmentalist, and Construction are all areas of expertise that flourish at the heart of the Energy Sector, outside of Engineering. Although each are sectors of industry within their own right, and key staples of most other sectors, there is a misconception that once you find yourself in one sector or industry, (Energy, Aeronautical, Healthcare, Retail as a list of examples) the skills you develop aren’t transferable to another role in another industry. It may be something of a comfort zone to stay in to stay within the same sector, but in a world where people are more open to change, and actively pursue new challenges.
Diversifying the Labour Force
There is no question about it, the Energy Sector lacks diversity; from traditional Oil & Gas through to newly emerging Renewables. STEM subject (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) may in the past of been predominantly male orientated subjects, but today’s schools, and industry are slowly starting to realise that there is a distinct requirement and need for a balanced workplace, and a need to bring more and more female members of staff into not just entry level, but higher ranking leadership roles.
Pretty Curious (EDF), and Girls Get Set (General Electric) are examples of programs, set up by large corporate organisations targeted towards school aged girls (pre-sixteen), in an attempt to encourage them to engage and enjoy being engaged in STEM subjects. In the same measure STEMNET has been set up, as an independent charity, to deliver vision and purpose by connecting individuals and STEM employers, in our case the Energy Sector, with thousands of Schools and their pupils. Some individuals, corporations and school are obviously early adopters of such programs, with others lacking in any engagement at all. As already mentioned above in this text, it is a suggestion that further active engagement takes place between organisations and their individual employees between schools, and their pupils to promote STEM subjects, either on an adhoc basis, or through schemes such as that deployed by EDF and General Electric.