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SO Talent Insights

Powering The Energy Transition

The challenge ahead

The world has always leaned on nature for its energy needs. However, the era of fossil fuels, marked by coal, oil, and natural gas, has brought us to a crossroads. The climate crisis, coupled with the limited supply of these resources, has urgently highlighted the need for transformation.

The COP28 presidency has set a definitive objective: to increase global renewable power capacity from 510 gigawatts (GW) to over 11 000 gigawatts (GW) and enhance energy efficiency by twofold by the year 2030.

The transition to renewable energy, including wind, solar, and hydroelectric power, is a profound change with far-reaching economic and job market impacts. This shift reshapes energy production and the wider economy, presenting both challenges and opportunities.

The number of jobs in the clean energy sector was 36.2 million in 2023, this could rise to 139 million by 2030, impacted by the geographical spread of equipment production and capacity installation, in addition to the supply chain’s sourcing.

At Spencer Ogden, we know that achieving the commitments made at COP28 depends heavily on companies’ ability to attract, develop, and retain talented professionals; in this report we aim to shine a light on the talent challenge we have ahead and bring the industry together to collectively strategise for a greener future.

Here’s what you can expect from this report:

COP28 Commitments

The shift to green energy offers an unprecedented opportunity to reshape our economy, our workforce and organisations, for a more sustainable future.

Many major energy companies recognise the economic and environmental potential of transitioning. Companies like BP, TotalEnergies, Enbridge, Shell, and ExxonMobil are investing heavily in renewable energy initiatives.

However, the transition is not uniform across the industry. While some companies are making significant strides, others are only at the beginning stages of their green energy journey. Fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas will continue to make up a significant share of the global energy mix. There is still a long way to go.

A key outcome of COP28 was the Presidency taking a leading role in the launch of the Global Renewables and Energy Efficiency Pledge. A total of 130 national governments endorsed the pledge which included commitments to:

  • Work together in order to collectively double the global average annual rate of energy efficiency improvements from around 2% to over 4% every year until 2030, and;
  • Put the principle of energy efficiency as the “first fuel” at the core of policymaking, planning, and major investment decisions.

Signatories also declared “…their intent to work collaboratively and expeditiously to pursue objectives…” that included:

  • Collaboration on resilient value chains and technology development
  • Expanding financial support for scaling renewable energy and energy efficiency programs in emerging markets and developing economies
  • Collaboration on accessible financing mechanisms to reduce the cost of capital in emerging markets and developing economies
  • Enhancing technical support and capacity building for renewables and energy efficiency developing economies
  • Accelerating cross-border grid interconnections.

Alongside governmental leaders, industry leaders are also taking steps towards greener operations and setting the stage for smaller companies to follow suit. The time to take action is now.

Together with the COP28 presidency we have identified a clear global goal: to triple global renewable power to more than 11 TW and double energy efficiency by 2030.

Francesco La CameraDirector General, The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

COP28's ambitious agenda has catapulted renewable energy to the forefront of global priorities. This shift presents a unique challenge for us in talent acquisition – finding individuals who are not just technically proficient but also passionate about driving environmental change.

James PipeExecutive Director, Spencer Ogden

A Snapshot of Global Markets

In regions across APAC, US, and Europe, the rise of these green initiatives has not only transformed the energy landscape but also sparked a shift in the global job market.

The decisions made at COP28 represent a turning point for the renewable energy sector. As a workforce solutions provider, we see a growing demand for skilled professionals who not only understand renewable technologies but are also equipped to drive them forward. This is a wake-up call for talent acquisition strategies worldwide."

Scarlett LeeAssociate Director

Regional Insight: APAC

The Asia Pacific renewable energy market has been growing steadily, with the share of total electricity output marking a notable increase from 16.1% in 2010 to 22.1% in 2018. Close to two-thirds of all jobs are in Asia, where China alone accounts for 41% of the global total. This growth trajectory is expected to continue at a CAGR of 9% by 2027, underscoring the urgent need for a skilled workforce capable of sustaining and accelerating this growth.

Transitioning to greener energy

Investment in the power generation sector within the APAC region is forecasted to reach US$3.3 trillion over the next 10 years, with nearly half of this sum earmarked for wind and solar projects. This substantial investment demonstrates the region’s commitment to transitioning from traditional energy sources to greener renewables.

China is the leading global employer in renewables, employing 5.55 million, however the growth trajectory will create unique talent acquisition challenges across the wider APAC region. As countries like Australia lead in wind energy and other nations enhance their solar capacities, there is a growing need for professionals skilled in these specific technologies.

Offshore wind projects in APAC

In 2022, the wind energy sector installed 74.6 GW of capacity globally and China retained the lead with close to half of global additions. The momentum calls for specialised skills in maritime engineering, environmental impact assessment, and advanced wind technologies.

Projects and the Demand for Talent:

Ubol Ratana Dam Hydro-Floating Solar Hybrid Project, Thailand: Thailand has embarked on a unique project that combines hydroelectric and solar power. The project uses floating solar panels on the dam’s surface, linked to the existing hydroelectric power station underscoring the need for professionals who can work at the intersection of different renewable technologies.

MacIntyre Wind Precinct, Australia: The MacIntyre Wind Precinct is one of the largest wind farm projects in the southern hemisphere. It’s located in Queensland, Australia, and once completed, it will have a total capacity of 1,026 MW – enough to power about 700,000 homes annually. Acciona, a Spanish infrastructure group, is developing the project, which is expected to be fully operational by 2024. The project requires not just engineers and technicians but also project managers, environmental scientists, and supply chain professionals to handle its scale.

India’s Renewable Energy Expansion: India is making significant strides in building its renewable capacity. As of February 2023, the country had nearly 175 GW of installed renewable energy capacity. This includes a mix of wind and solar power projects spread across the country and calls for a workforce with a broad range of skills, from solar panel installation to wind turbine maintenance.

China’s Transition to Renewable Energy: Despite being one of the world’s biggest consumers of coal, China is working towards a more sustainable energy future. The country plans to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 25% by 2030 and we expect the demand for professionals trained in renewable energy technologies to rise dramatically.

Renewable Energy in Southeast Asia: Countries in Southeast Asia are increasingly turning to renewable energy for their power needs. For instance, the Philippines is aiming for renewable sources such as wind and solar to account for at least 31% of national energy needs by 2030 which will create a surge in demand for skilled professionals.

Growth, challenges, and opportunities

The Asia Pacific renewable energy market is not only the fastest-growing market but has also emerged as the largest market, accounting for almost 30% of global renewables. Despite the impressive growth, the sector faces key challenges, including regulatory hurdles, infrastructure limitations, and the high initial cost of renewable technologies.

This is coupled with the need for skilled labor, regulatory knowledge, and innovation capabilities. However, these challenges also open opportunities for training institutions, international collaborations in education, and corporate investments in talent development.

As the APAC region gears up for substantial growth in renewables, the focus should also be on building a capable workforce. This human-centric approach will be crucial for the sustainable and efficient transition to greener energy sources. Governments, businesses, and educational institutions must collaborate to develop and attract the talent necessary to meet the rising demand in this evolving sector.

The outcomes of COP28 underscore a critical need for diverse talent in the renewable energy sector. To innovate and progress, we need people from varied backgrounds who bring different perspectives and solutions to the table. Our role in talent acquisition is more crucial than ever in shaping a sustainable future."

James Holden, Executive DirectorSpencer Ogden

Regional Insight: Europe

Europe has been at the forefront of the global shift towards renewable energy, with a significant portion of its energy needs already being met by renewable sources. 

Renewables are nearing 40% of Europe’s total electricity generation, with solar leading the way. The region has experienced a record growth of 38 terawatt-hours (TWh) since 2021 due to around 41GW of solar power generation being added to the grid in 2022. The region’s renewable energy market is projected to continue to grow at a CAGR of 8.5% from 2022 to 2027.

Transitioning to Greener Energy

Historically, Europe has relied heavily on fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. However, the region’s transition towards renewable energy sources in recent years is owed to amended governmental policies which are pushing for a greener economy, as well as growing public awareness about climate change.

The European Union has set ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, and boost renewable energy, aiming for at least a 40% cut in emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. This commitment has led to substantial investments in renewable energy infrastructure and an increase in job opportunities in the region. Europe is home to 1.8 million renewable energy jobs, with 1.6 million based in the EU’s 27 member states.

Here are Europe’s top trends:

Numerous ventures in Europe exemplify the region’s dedication to renewable energy sources and their innovative methods in harnessing wind, solar, and hydro power. These projects not only highlight technological advancement but also present unique recruitment challenges and job creation opportunities in the renewable energy sector. They include:

Hornsea Project One, UK: Operated by Ørsted, the Hornsea Project One is currently the world’s largest offshore wind farm. Located off the Yorkshire coast, the project generates 1.2 GW of power – enough to supply over one million homes. The scale of this project demands a substantial workforce, encompassing roles from technical specialists to operational staff, creating significant employment opportunities in the region.

Markbygden Wind Farm, Sweden: This is one of the largest onshore wind farms in the world. If completed, it would consist of up to 1100 wind turbines that would together produce up to 12 TWh per year, which is roughly 8% of Sweden’s total electricity generation. The project is currently at risk of bankruptcy due to financial issues that have spanned several years.

Hywind Tampen, Norway: The world’s largest floating wind farm, Hywind Tampen, is located off the coast of Norway. The project, operated by Equinor, has a total capacity of 88 MW and provides about 35% of the annual power demand of the nearby Snorre and Gullfaks oil and gas platforms. The operation requires a unique skill set, blending traditional offshore energy skills with new renewable technologies.

Noor Ouarzazate Solar Complex, Morocco: While technically in Africa, this project is significant to Europe as it forms part of the Desertec project, aiming to supply Europe with solar power from the Sahara. The Noor Ouarzazate complex is the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant, covering an area roughly the size of San Francisco and generating up to 580 MW. The complexity and size of this project require a diverse range of skills, from technical expertise in solar technology to project management and maintenance roles.

Cruachan Power Station, Scotland: This is a pumped-storage hydroelectric power station in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. A major expansion of the station was announced in 2020 that could see its capacity more than double from 440 MW to 1040 MW. This expansion not only signifies a growth in renewable capacity but also a surge in the demand for skilled labor in both the construction phase and ongoing operations.

Growth, Challenges, and Opportunities

Despite being a mature market, the renewable energy sector in Europe faces several challenges, including securing adequate funding, integrating renewable power into existing grids, obtaining planning permissions, and managing the intermittency of renewable sources. These challenges extend into the realm of human resources, where there is a constant need for skilled professionals capable of navigating these complexities.

The market’s bright outlook offers numerous opportunities for businesses and investors, especially in energy storage, grid upgrades, and electric vehicle infrastructure. This growth also implies a rising demand for a skilled workforce, highlighting the need for targeted education and training programs to prepare individuals for these emerging roles.

The future of Europe’s renewable energy market looks promising, with strong growth projected in the coming years. The region’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy efficiency will continue to drive investment in renewable energy infrastructure. With strategic investments in talent development and recruitment, Europe can continue the transition towards a sustainable, low-carbon future, while also addressing the critical need for skilled professionals in this evolving industry.

To build a wind industry that truly attracts top talent, we need a thriving supply chain, profitable developers, and a secure working environment. Success hinges on creating a sector that not only grows but excels, especially when competing for skilled professionals across industries.

Stewart MullinCOO, Global Wind Energy Council

The ambitious targets set at COP28 require a new breed of professionals in renewable energy. Our role in talent acquisition is pivotal in identifying and nurturing these individuals who are crucial for achieving these global environmental goals.

Adam StahlerSenior Manager, Spencer Ogden

Regional Insight: North America

The renewable energy market in the United States was expected to reach 395 gigawatts in 2023 and grow at a CAGR of 10.01% to reach 700.15 gigawatts by 2028. Despite project delays and rising costs in 2022, the industry is poised for significant growth.

Data source: Mordor Intelligence, the graph has been reproduced and adapted for this report.

Transition from traditional energy to renewables

The transition from traditional fossil fuel energy sources to greener renewables is gaining momentum in the US. In 2020, renewable energy sources generated a record 834 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), accounting for about 20% of all electricity in the country. This figure continues to grow, highlighting the country’s commitment to renewable energy.

The main trends in the US sustainable energy industry include a shift towards solar and wind power, the adoption of state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), and the development of mandatory markets. Solar capacity has grown at an average of 24% annually over the last decade.

The challenge for North America lies not only in maintaining this growth trajectory but also in ensuring there is a sufficient pool of skilled labor to support these ambitious projects. The industry must address potential skill gaps, especially in emerging renewable technologies, and invest in training and development programs to prepare the workforce for the future landscape of the energy sector.

Recent projects that demonstrate the diverse ways in which the North America is investing in renewable and carbon-free energy sources, include:

Vineyard Wind, Massachusetts: Vineyard Wind is the first large-scale offshore wind project in the United States. Operational as of January 4th 2024 with one turbine, when fully active, will generate 800 MW of power – enough to power over 400,000 homes and businesses. A project like this requires professionals in offshore wind technology, marine engineering, environmental management, project management, logistics, and safety compliance.

Eagle Shadow Mountain Solar Farm, Nevada: This solar farm has been operational since May 2023 and is one of the largest in the U.S; it’s expected to generate more than 900,000 MWh of clean electricity per year. The project, developed by Arevon Energy Inc, is part of Nevada’s plan to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050.

Los Angeles 100% Renewable Energy Study (LA100): Los Angeles is planning a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2045. The LA100 study, led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), is identifying pathways to reach this goal. The implications of this study serves as a catalyst for job creation and skill development in the area.

Skookumchuck Wind Energy Project, Washington: This project, developed by Southern Power and RES, consists of 38 wind turbines that can generate up to 137 MW of electricity. It is part of Washington state’s goal to be carbon-neutral by 2030. Successful delivery of a project like this requires engineers and technicians specialised in wind turbine technology, as well as experts in aerodynamics, electrical systems, and environmental impact assessments.

Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, Georgia: Though not a typical renewable energy project, the expansion of the Vogtle plant represents a significant investment in nuclear energy, another form of carbon-free power. Unit 3 became operational in July 2023 and 4 is planned to launch early 2024. These will be among the first new nuclear units built in America in more than 30 years. The development requires nuclear engineers, safety specialists, and technicians with expertise specific to nuclear technology and operations.

Graduates entering Renewables

U.S. graduates are increasingly interested in renewable energy careers due to environmental concerns, policy changes and the industry’s growth. Attractive salaries, often above national averages, and the opportunity to contribute to environmental sustainability make this sector appealing. For many, it’s not just a job, but a chance to make a real difference.

Solar legislation and its impact on jobs

Solar legislation in the US, such as tax credits and net metering policies, has had a positive impact on job creation. These policies stimulate the industry and create jobs, leading to an increased demand for skilled workers in the field. As the solar market continues to expand, so does the potential for job growth in the sector.

Both the transition from traditional energy forms to renewables and the growth of the renewable energy market are creating new opportunities for recent graduates and contributing significantly to job creation in the US.

COP28's ambitious agenda has catapulted renewable energy to the forefront of global priorities. This shift presents a unique challenge for us in talent acquisition – finding individuals who are not just technically proficient but also passionate about driving environmental change.

Mindy PreflingAssociate Director, Key & Strategic Accounts, Spencer Ogden

The critical role of energy storage

Renewable energy, for all its benefits, relies on unpredictable natural elements. The sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind doesn’t always blow. Hence, matching the supply of renewable energy with demand is a complex task. The solution? Energy storage.

As the demand for renewable energy storage escalates, a myriad of technologies have emerged. These range from mechanical and thermal methods to electrochemical and hydrogen-based solutions. Each technology brings its unique advantages and challenges to the table.

Pumped hydroelectric energy storage

Pumped hydroelectric storage, a form of gravity storage, utilises the gravitational potential energy of water. Excess electricity from the grid pumps water into an elevated reservoir. When demand rises, the water flows down through turbines to a lower reservoir, generating hydroelectric power for the grid.

Electrochemical battery energy storage

Electrochemical batteries, such as lithium-ion and flow batteries, store energy by separating positive and negative charges in rechargeable cells.

Lithium-ion Battery Storage: These batteries are widely used due to their high energy density and relatively low cost. However, they degrade over time and require careful fire management.

Flow Battery Storage: Flow batteries store energy efficiently by reducing and oxidising two charged liquids separated by a membrane. They offer long durations and multiple cycles without degradation, but have a larger project footprint.

Thermal and phase transition energy storage

Thermal energy storage technologies, including liquid-to-air transition and thermal sand batteries, store excess energy as heat.

Liquid-to-Air Transition Energy Storage: This method involves chilling ambient air to the point of liquefaction using surplus grid electricity. When energy is needed, the liquid air turns back into gas, powering turbines to create electricity.

Thermal Sand Batteries: Developed by Finnish researchers, these batteries use low-grade sand charged with heat generated by cheap electricity from solar or wind power. The heat-storing sand can warm homes in winter when energy is more expensive.

Mechanical energy storage

Mechanical energy storage, including compressed air energy storage and gravity storage, converts potential energy into kinetic energy.

Compressed Air Energy Storage: This method uses surplus electricity to compress air, which then passes through a turbine to generate electricity when needed.

Gravity Storage: A gravity battery raises a mass, such as a concrete block, using excess electrical energy, generating gravitational potential energy. When electrical energy is required, the mass is lowered, powering an electric generator.

Hydrogen electrolysis

Hydrogen electrolysis produces hydrogen gas by passing surplus electrical current through a chemical solution. This hydrogen gas is then compressed and stored in underground tanks. When needed, this process can be reversed to produce electricity from the stored hydrogen.

Implications for job opportunities and skills

As the world makes strides towards a cleaner, greener future, renewable energy storage is poised to play a pivotal role. Not only does it ensure a constant supply of power, but it also prevents wastage of renewable resources. As the sector expands, the demand for skilled professionals in the field is set to rise, creating myriad career opportunities.

In a world increasingly conscious of its carbon footprint, the renewable energy storage sector represents a sustainable path forward, offering both environmental benefits and exciting career prospects. To those interested in making a difference, the sector beckons with open arms.

COP28's focus on sustainable energy transition is a clarion call for talent that can drive innovation. In recruitment, we're not just looking for skills; we're seeking visionaries who can lead the charge in this rapidly evolving landscape.

Henry De LusignanCEO, Spencer Ogden

The Talent Challenge


Global Renewable Energy Jobs in 2022


Global Renewable Energy Jobs in 2030

Demand for Skills Booms

With the sustainable energy sector’s boom is an increase in job availability. Skills demand is increasing in tandem.

Globally, various regions are contributing to this growth in distinct ways. For instance, in the UK the renewable energy sector has seen a steady growth in job availability, with an estimated 200,000 people employed in low carbon and renewable energy activities as of 2020. That figure has escalated further since then. This increase can be attributed to the UK’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, which has driven up demand for sustainable energy solutions and, consequently, skilled professionals in this sector.

In the United States, the President’s goal of running an electrical grid on 100% carbon-free sources by 2035 has further catalysed job growth. North America, in particular, has a significant proportion of its economy-wide employment within the energy sector, totalling 7.9 million jobs.

Similarly, in APAC, rapid industrialisation and increasing environmental awareness have spurred growth in renewable energy jobs, with China and India leading in solar and wind energy production.

The job market in sustainable energy is currently robust and evolving rapidly across the globe. This dynamic market reflects the diverse needs and opportunities within the sustainable energy field, indicating a promising future for professionals in this area worldwide.

Post-COP28, the renewable energy industry is set to expand exponentially. This growth is an exciting opportunity but also a substantial challenge in talent acquisition. We must now focus on building a workforce that is as dynamic and forward-thinking as the renewable technologies they will work with.

Tom ReidCOO, Spencer Ogden

Key skill areas that are consistently in demand across the sector include:


This skill set is vital for designing, developing, and implementing renewable energy systems. Engineers are pivotal in all sub-sectors, such as solar, wind, hydro, and bioenergy. Their expertise in electrical, mechanical, and environmental engineering, alongside specialised knowledge in renewable technologies, is crucial for the sector’s advancement.

Installation and Maintenance

Practical skills in installation and maintenance are fundamental for ensuring the operational efficiency and longevity of renewable energy systems. Technicians skilled in installing, maintaining, and repairing these systems, particularly in the rapidly expanding fields of solar and wind energy, are in high demand. Their role is vital in minimising downtime and maximising energy output.

Project Management

With the escalation in number and scale of renewable energy projects, there’s an increasing need for proficient project managers. These professionals are responsible for overseeing projects from inception to completion, ensuring they are completed on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards. Skills in risk management, stakeholder communication, and resource allocation are essential.

Research and Development (R&D)

Innovations in renewable energy technology are central to enhancing efficiency and reducing costs. There’s a high value placed on researchers and scientists who can drive these innovations. R&D professionals are working on cutting-edge technologies, such as advanced solar cells, wind turbine design, energy storage solutions, and bioenergy technologies. Their work is critical in pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in renewable energy.

Policy and Regulatory Expertise

As renewable energy gains prominence, there’s a growing need for professionals versed in policy development, regulatory frameworks, and compliance. This includes understanding international treaties, national policies, and local regulations that govern renewable energy use and development.

Sustainability and Environmental Impact Analysis

Professionals who can assess and mitigate the environmental impact of renewable energy projects are increasingly important. This includes conducting life cycle assessments, understanding biodiversity impacts, and ensuring sustainable use of resources.

Despite the high demand for these skill sets, the sector faces a challenge of oversupply in certain job areas. However, the rapid expansion and technological evolution of the sector necessitate continuous upskilling and training. Addressing the skills gap is critical for the sustained growth and success of the renewable energy sector. As the sector evolves, so does the need for a workforce that is versatile, adaptable, and equipped with a blend of technical, managerial, and environmental skills.

Hot Careers in Renewables

Here are the top 11 careers that are shaping the industry:

Battery Engineer

Designing, developing, and optimising battery technologies and systems, playing a critical role in the advancement of energy storage solutions.

Wind Farm Site Manager

Responsible for supervising the operations and maintenance of wind farms. Ensuring the smooth running of the site, managing staff and liaising with stakeholders


Geoscientists in the renewable energy sector study the Earth’s core processes to explore potential sites for renewable energy projects. They’re essential in identifying suitable locations for wind or solar farms based on geological and environmental factors.

Civil Engineer

Civil Engineers play a crucial role in designing and constructing infrastructure for renewable energy projects. Their work includes creating plans for wind farm foundations, solar panel installations, and hydroelectric dam structures.

Financial Analyst for Renewable Energy Companies

These professionals analyse financial data and market trends to help renewable energy companies make informed decisions. They play a key role in assessing project feasibility, securing funding, and maximizing profits.

Solar Project Developer

A Solar Project Developer oversees the entire lifecycle of a solar power project. From site selection to design and installation, these professionals ensure that solar projects are completed efficiently and effectively.

Solar Power Plant Operator

Solar Power Plant Operators manage and maintain the equipment that converts solar energy into electricity. Their role is vital in maintaining the efficient operation of solar power plants.

Solar Project Manager

Solar Project Managers oversee the planning, coordination, and execution of solar installation projects. They work closely with a team of engineers and installers to ensure the project is completed on time and within budget.

Renewable Energy Consultant

Renewable Energy Consultants provide expert advice to individuals and businesses looking to transition to renewable energy sources. They assess energy needs, recommend solutions, and assist with implementing sustainable energy strategies.

Scientific Researcher

Scientific Researchers in renewable energy are at the forefront of innovation. They conduct experiments and studies to discover new ways of harnessing and improving renewable energy technologies.

Industrial Engineer

Industrial Engineers optimise the processes and systems used in renewable energy production. They work to enhance efficiency, reduce waste, and increase productivity in renewable energy facilities.

Transitioning Talent

Traditional energy industries like oil & gas have a wealth of expertise that is valuable to the renewable sector, including competencies in project management, engineering, and operations. By recognising and valuing these overlapping skills, companies can strategically attract experienced professionals from fossil fuels and offer them a meaningful transition into a sustainable future.

Investing in targeted training and development programs is another critical route to explore. These programs are designed not just to facilitate the skill transition for professionals moving into the renewable energy sector but also to provide ongoing education and development opportunities. A continuous learning environment is essential to keep pace with the rapid advancements in technologies and to retain key talent.

Offering competitive salaries is vital in this highly competitive market. The high demand for skilled professionals means that attractive remuneration packages, along with comprehensive benefits and career development opportunities, can be decisive factors in drawing talent from other industries.

However for talent, the most critical factor is often real career growth and a sense of purpose. The renewable energy sector inherently offers roles that contribute to a sustainable and environmentally responsible future. This aspect of meaningful work, aligned with personal values and global sustainability goals, is a significant draw for professionals, especially those seeking not just a job, but a career with impact and purpose.

COP28 has highlighted the urgency for innovative solutions in renewable energy. As executive recruiters, our task is to find not only the best minds but also those who are deeply committed to environmental sustainability. This is a unique and exciting challenge in talent acquisition.

Lars GloessnerExecutive Director, Spencer Ogden

Companies leading the way

There are numerous examples of companies that have already effectively transitioned talent from fossil fuels to renewables.

Take Danish company, Ørsted, for instance. Formerly an oil and gas company, they successfully transitioned into a renewable energy company that is now the world’s largest offshore wind energy operator. This transition involved significant reskilling and upskilling of their workforce, demonstrating a successful model of talent transition. Their Former Chief Executive Officer, Henrik Poulsen, says,

“As a business, you have to make a profit, but you also need to make a broader contribution to society. We learned that these things aren’t in opposition to each other. In fact, they go hand in hand.”

Ørsted’s website tells the story of how they were “…once one of the most coal-intensive energy companies in Europe.” Yet today, they are ranked one of the most sustainable businesses in the world.

The organisation explains, “Our business transformation is a story of technological innovation, steep learning curves and difficult strategic choices that have led to long-term gains.”

By 2040, Ørsted’s aim is for their entire value chain to be carbon-neutral.
French multinational integrated oil & gas company, TotalEnergies, is another organisation that made headlines when it announced plans to transform into a broad-energy company. It is now investing in renewable energy projects and has set a target to reach 35 GW of renewable energy production capacity by 2025.

“As a business, you have to make a profit, but you also need to make a broader contribution to society. We learned that these things aren’t in opposition to each other. In fact, they go hand in hand.”

Henrik PoulsenFormer CEO, Ørsted

TotalEnergies describes how a core part of its strategy is “focusing on circular resource management and deploying less mature technologies at our own sites to test their business viability.”

Shell, another major player in the oil & gas industry, is a further example of an organisation that has been increasingly investing in renewable energy projects. It too aims to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050. To achieve this, Shell is not only investing in renewable energy projects but also actively recruiting and retraining professionals with traditional energy skills.

Over the course of a decade, Shell plans to help “15,000 people into jobs with a focus on the energy transition. This includes a focus on developing skills that will support their journeys into employment to ensure that the transition is an opportunity for everyone.”

These efforts are in addition to Shell’s dedication to helping customers to transition to electric vehicles (EV) through providing charging points both at home and on the road. With more than 40,000 public charging points positioned globally, their aim is to have around 70,000 by 2025 and 200,000 in total including home EV charging points. Shell states, “We’re committed to providing customers with the most convenient EV experience by enabling them to change where, when and how they want.

Transitioning talent from fossil fuels to renewables is a complex but necessary process. What the above examples demonstrate however, is that with innovative strategies, transition is not only feasible but can also offer immense opportunities for growth and success in the renewable energy sector.

Addressing the talent gap in a changing climate

COP28’s pledge confirmed the need for “deep, rapid and sustained reductions if humanity is to limit temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.” And as we conclude our discussion, it’s clear that the transition to sustainable energy is not just a trend; it’s an imperative, permanent shift that will shape all our futures. 

We have identified that the renewable energy sector offers vast job opportunities and the demand for skilled professionals in this sector has skyrocketed. However, this demand is met with a skills gap, causing organisations that need renewable energy skill sets to adapt their people strategies to remain competitive.

We have further delved into some of the tried and tested strategies for transitioning talent from fossil fuel industries to renewables. By recognising the transferable skills of professionals in the fossil fuel industry and offering comprehensive training and development programs, companies can effectively bridge the skills gap. And real-world examples, such as Ørsted, TotalEnergies, and Shell, teach us that this transition is not only possible but also beneficial for companies willing to invest in transitioning to green energy, as well as the associated talent development.

The importance of these findings cannot be overstated. As we move towards a more sustainable future, addressing the skills shortage in the renewable energy sector becomes paramount – not just an environmental necessity but also a significant economic opportunity. It’s not just about creating jobs; it’s about ensuring that we have the skilled workforce necessary to drive this transition, and even accelerate it, ensuring a more sustainable future for all.

Once more quoting IRENA’s Francesco La Camera, he’s hopeful for the future,  commenting, “Can we course-correct? I firmly believe we can…and we must.”

Can we course-correct? I firmly believe we can…and we must.

Francesco La CameraDirector General, The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

Our pledge

At Spencer Ogden, we are deeply committed to the principles and goals outlined by COP28, particularly in addressing the critical talent gap in the renewable energy sector. We understand the pivotal role that talent acquisition and management play in achieving the ambitious targets set by COP28 and pledge to actively collaborate with organisations and institutions worldwide to bridge this talent gap.

Our commitment includes working closely with educational institutions to nurture the next generation of renewable energy professionals. Additionally, we will engage with industry leaders to understand their talent needs and develop targeted recruitment strategies that align with the goals of COP28.

Through our global network and expertise in energy recruitment, we are dedicated to finding and placing the right talent in roles where they can make a significant impact. We recognise that the success of COP28 is contingent on the collective efforts of governments, businesses, and communities. As such, Spencer Ogden is fully committed to doing our part in supporting these goals, ensuring that the renewable energy sector is equipped with a skilled, diverse, and dynamic workforce, ready to tackle the challenges of a sustainable future.

For companies, policy makers and job seekers, our recommendations are:

In the wake of COP28, it's imperative that we reimagine our approach to hiring, embedding the principles of sustainability and innovation at the heart of our recruitment strategies. As we navigate the shifts in the renewables sector, our talent acquisition practices must not only align with the urgent climate goals set but also anticipate the evolving skills landscape. By doing so, we can ensure that our workforce is not just equipped for today's challenges but is also resilient and adaptable for the future.

Stewart McArthurManaging Director, Spencer Ogden


Recognise transferable skills: Tap into the wealth of expertise in traditional energy sectors by recognising and valuing transferable skills. Professionals in these sectors often have valuable experience in project management, engineering, and operations that can be beneficial in the renewable energy sector.

Invest in training and development: Provide comprehensive training programs to help your workforce transition their skills to the renewable energy sector. Continuous learning opportunities are key to keeping up with the rapidly evolving industry and retain the very best talent.

Offer competitive remuneration packages: Given the high demand for skilled professionals in the renewable energy sector, attractive remuneration packages can be a significant draw for talent from other industries.



Promote renewable energy education: Encourage educational institutions to offer courses and degrees in renewable energy. This will help build a pipeline of skilled professionals ready to enter the industry.

Incentivise transition: Provide incentives for companies making the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. This could be in the form of tax breaks, grants, or subsidies.

Support research and development: Funding for research and development in renewable energy technologies can spur innovation and create new job opportunities.


Job Seekers

Embrace lifelong learning: The renewable energy sector is rapidly evolving. Stay ahead by continually updating your skills and knowledge.

Highlight transferable skills: When applying for jobs in the renewable energy sector, highlight your transferable skills from previous roles in your CV and application.

Seek out opportunities for growth: Look for companies that offer training and development opportunities. This not only helps you transition your skills but also provides a pathway for career growth in the renewable energy sector.

By adopting these recommendations, we can collectively address the skills shortage in the renewable energy sector and accelerate the transition to a sustainable future.


About Spencer Ogden

As global recruitment experts in energy and infrastructure Spencer Ogden is continuously working to create careers to power a sustainable future for our clients and candidates.

With technology at the heart of the process, from financing to operational execution, we break new ground at every stage of the project life cycle. And it’s our mission to create a dynamic and sustainable legacy in the ever-changing landscapes we cover.

If you are in renewables or are an energy business looking to transition to a more sustainable strategy, we can help. Whether you need contract or permanent expertise to help on your journey to becoming a greener organisation, we lead the market when it comes to placing talent where it’s needed. We are deeply embedded within renewables and are passionate about making a difference today, for tomorrow.

Contact us to discuss your sustainable energy needs and how we can support you on your journey.


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