The next energy generation: Attract and recruit Gen Z talent

Talent Acquisition Renewables and Power Workforce Management
Diyaa Mani

By Diyaa Mani
May 2, 2023

July 10, 2024

0 min read

The energy industry is at a crossroads.

As the world transitions towards a low-carbon future, businesses are under increasing pressure to reduce their carbon footprint and invest in clean energy.

It is an exciting time to be in energy, yet, companies face a skills gap as a significant portion of the baby boomer workforce is set to retire in the next few years. There is a necessity to hire fresh and innovative talent to fill this gap.

Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012, is the largest generation in history and will soon make up a significant portion of the future workforce. They are a generation whose job satisfaction matters as much to them as remuneration and other benefits.

This future talent pool is highly conscious of social issues and environmental stewardship and seeks purpose and authenticity compared to the current workforce. For the energy industry to meet its sustainability goals, it must attract and retain top talent from this generation.

To do so, we must understand Gen Z talent and take actionable measures to create a workplace that aligns with their values and priorities. This article explores five actionable measures energy businesses can take to attract Gen Zers to the future workforce.

Understanding Generation Z

A group of young employees gathered around a laptop
Source: Pexels/Fox

Gen Z is the first generation to grow up in a highly connected, diverse, and rapidly changing world. They are digital natives, and technology has shaped their values and priorities. With the ability to instantly find answers and solutions, there is no need for Gen Z to rely on others, making them a highly independent generation.

That translates into their work expectations and habits. Gen Z looks for flexible schedules, independence, and growth opportunities that match their entrepreneurial spirit.

For Gen Zers, work is not just a means to an end. This generation of employees seek purpose and authenticity in their work and wants to be part of something meaningful. This means they are more likely to work for companies that align with their values and prioritise social and environmental responsibility.

They also value diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and expect their workplaces to reflect these values. They want to work in an environment where everyone feels welcome, respected, and valued. They also prioritise transparency and honesty and expect their employers to communicate openly and honestly about their values, goals, and impact.

shutterstock_2154658945Source: Shutterstock

Build a diverse and inclusive workplace

Gen Z prioritises diversity, equity, and inclusion and expect their workplaces to reflect these values.

To create a diverse and inclusive workplace, the energy industry can take the following actions:

Recruit fresh talent from diverse backgrounds

Attract talent by creating inclusive job descriptions, contacting diverse talent pools, and using various recruitment methods. It is also essential to eliminate unconscious biases from the recruitment process and ensure all candidates have an equal opportunity to succeed.

Promote diversity and inclusion

Encourage diversity and inclusion by creating employee resource groups, hosting training sessions, and implementing a diverse and inclusive culture. These initiatives can help employees feel valued and included, improving retention and productivity.

Foster a culture of belonging

Creating a culture of belonging means that every employee feels valued, respected, and included. Foster a culture of belonging by promoting open communication, celebrating diversity, and providing opportunities for employees to give feedback and shape the company culture.

Offer equal opportunities

Gen Z seeks workplaces that provide equal opportunities for all employees. Businesses can ensure that all employees have an equal opportunity to succeed by offering fair pay and benefits, providing training and development opportunities, and promoting from within.

Invest in sustainability and innovation

As the first generation to grow up in a world threatened by climate change, Gen Z-ers are highly concerned about the environment and expect businesses to take responsibility for their impact. The energy sector can take the following steps to invest in sustainability and innovation:

Develop green energy technologies

Invest in research and development of clean energy technologies, such as wind, solar, and hydropower, that can reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and help meet global carbon reduction goals. Companies can partner with universities and research institutions to accelerate innovation and development.

Reduce carbon emissions

Reduce carbon emissions by investing in carbon capture and storage technologies, implementing energy-efficient practices, and transitioning towards low-carbon energy sources. By setting ambitious targets for carbon reduction, businesses can show its commitment to sustainability and attract top talent from Gen Z.

Adopt sustainable business practices

Companies in the energy industry can adopt sustainable business practices, such as reducing waste, recycling, and minimising water usage. They can also implement sustainability reporting frameworks to track and report their sustainability performance to stakeholders.

Embrace circular economy principles

Circular economy principles, which involve designing products and processes to minimise waste and ensure that materials are used for as long as possible. By doing so, companies can reduce their environmental impact and attract talent that values sustainability.


Source: Shutterstock

Embrace new technologies

Gen Z employee working from home using a mobile phone and laptop
Source: Pexels/Andrea Picquadio 

As a digital generation that has grown up with cutting-edge technologies at their fingertips, Gen Zers want their workplaces to embrace digital transformation and adopt new technologies. The energy industry can take the following steps to embrace modern technologies.

Use social media

Social media is a great tool to put your company in front of potential candidates. However, some studies show that an outdated job application process might discourage Gen Z from applying.

Here’s where your website comes into play. With a predicted 94% of Gen Z owning a smartphone, your website must be mobile-friendly, visually appealing and intuitive to use – the user journey has never been more crucial.

Moreover, make sure your website carries clear messaging, is consistent with your branding and offers an easy, smooth and up-to-date application process.

As previously mentioned, don’t forget the power of recommendations. Over 60% of Gen Z prefers and relies upon referrals from an employer’s current or former employee. Make sure you incorporate testimonials across your communication channels.

Adopt artificial intelligence

The energy industry can adopt artificial intelligence (AI) to improve operations, increase efficiency, and reduce costs. AI can optimise energy use, predict maintenance needs, and automate routine tasks, freeing employees to focus on more complex and strategic work.

Utilise the Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the network of physical devices, vehicles, and other items embedded with sensors, software, and connectivity that enable them to exchange data. The energy industry can use IoT to monitor energy usage, track equipment performance, and automate energy usage, improving efficiency and cost savings.

Implement blockchain technology

Blockchain technology can increase transparency and traceability in the energy industry. For example, it can track renewable energy credits and carbon offsets, giving customers greater visibility and assurance of the energy's sustainability.

Enhance the customer experience

Businesses can use new technologies to improve the customer experience, such as developing mobile apps that enable customers to manage their energy usage, pay bills, and receive personalised recommendations.

Provide purpose-driven career and growth opportunities


As workforce that values purpose and authenticity in their work, Gen Zers are looking for careers that align with their values and enable them to impact the world positively.

The energy industry can take the following steps to introduce purpose-driven career opportunities into the job market:

Provide clear career development plans ranging from entry-level to senior roles

Energy companies should cultivate career paths centered around renewable energy to draw in individuals passionate about sustainability and innovation. This encompasses positions dedicated to creating new technologies that lower energy use, enhancing the sustainability of supply chains, and adopting principles of the circular economy.

Invest in training and development programs

Mentorship or upskilling programs are a great way to help retain Gen Z candidates in your organisation. As these programs usually invest in personality rather than experience, they let employees learn and grow with the company.

Create a culture of purpose

Demonstrate to current and future employees how the company is committed to positively impacting the world. Provide opportunities for employees to volunteer with projects that have direct social or environmental impacts. Invest in training and development focused on social responsibility and sustainability practices. Also, take the time to recognise and reward employees for their contributions to company sustainability initiatives. Publicly acknowledging these efforts helps to reinforce their importance and motivate others to participate.

Highlight any involvement in sustainability initiatives

Energy businesses should communicate any tangible and positive impacts their work has on society and the environment. this can involve sharing success stories and real-world examples that demonstrate how employees’ efforts contribute to meaningful change. Provide data and case studies that illustrate how your initiatives have led to measurable environmental improvements. This transparency can resonate deeply with Gen Z, who are highly conscious of environmental issues and eager to work for companies that prioritise sustainability.

Don’t confuse them with Generation C

While Gen Z was born into a completely digital world, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are all a part of Generation C. They each have their own defined values and characteristics. You can read more about Generation C here.

Recruit Gen Z talent with Airswift

Companies that prioritise sustainability can not only reduce their environmental impact but also improve their brand reputation and attract and retain top talent. By reducing waste, recycling, and minimising water usage, companies can take actionable steps towards a more sustainable future.

Airswift's talent solutions and mobility services experts can help companies overcome these challenges and develop a sustainable, global workforce.

Whether finding the right talent for a project, managing a global workforce, or navigating complex immigration laws, Airswift is the ideal partner for any company looking to expand its operations globally while maintaining a commitment to sustainability.

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