The top energy industry employment trends for 2024

February 13, 2024

GETI 2024 blog feature image

GETI 2024: What does the rise of artificial intelligence mean for the energy industry? 

The Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) report is back for 2024, mapping out the tectonic shifts taking place across the energy industry. 

This year’s report explores how the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping job roles, skills in demand, workplace policies and training initiatives, and more. In the report, we track the extent of AI adoption across the energy industry, as well as its popularity in each sector, and discuss the opportunities and risks it presents.
The report reveals that more than 90% of energy workers expect to see a demand for new skills as a result of AI, and the majority expect it to boost both productivity and job satisfaction. More than half of those surveyed also believe that AI will lead to an increase in salaries. 

Read on to find out more about employment trends across each energy sector. 

Get more insight into employment trends within the energy industry by downloading the full report.

Download the GETI report 2024

Renewables is embracing AI more than any other sector

AI has the potential to be a real game-changer for renewable energy production and processes, so it is unsurprising to find that the sector is the biggest adopter of AI across the energy industry. According to the GETI survey, almost a third (32%) of respondents are leveraging AI in their roles.

Although there's a roughly equal match between companies implementing AI strategies and individuals applying it, a notable 28% admit to having not read their organisation’s policies governing AI use. Additionally, 15% of participants are unsure if their employer has an AI policy at all, highlighting a potential gap in awareness about company documentation.

These findings suggest a pressing need to educate employees about the AI guidelines and strategies their companies have developed.

The most used AI applications within the renewables sector are generative models such as ChatGPT, Bard AI and Claude, followed by machine learning. Companies in the sector also use Artificial General Intelligence, and some firms have used technologies like Unmanned Autonomous Vehicles for remote inspection purposes. 

28 of those in the sector who use AI said they use it for optimising energy production, and 22% stated that they mainly use it to improve products and services. 

Despite the keen uptake of AI among renewables companies, professionals are aware of its challenges. The GETI report found that some employees are concerned about insufficient investment in AI applications and employee support. One way for firms to overcome these worries is to introduce more comprehensive guidance and policies; respondents cited a lack of clarity over which tools are the best fit for the company as one of the biggest challenges with AI adoption. 

Regardless of potential challenges, 87% of renewables workers are optimistic about the future impact of AI. 78% feel that it will lead to a rise in productivity over the next two years, and 62% said they believe it will lead to career progression opportunities and increased job satisfaction.

Other important statistics from the renewables sector 

The GETI report also revealed some interesting insights around salaries, global mobility and competition for talent. Here are some of the key statistics to be aware of in 2024:

  • Due to a boost in salary increases last year, 73% of renewables workers expect to receive a pay rise over the next year 
  • The number of renewables companies offering overseas job transfers has grown from 52% to 58% since 2022
  • Since last year, there has been an 11% increase in employees wanting to relocate for reasons related to lifestyle and the cost of living, whereas the number of people wanting to move for career progression has fallen slightly from 58% to 53% 
  • 32% of renewables employees have been headhunted in the last 12 months, 13% of whom were headhunted more than 16 times - a quarter of these approaches came from an outside industry 
  • 88% of survey respondents said they would consider a job switch, with career progression and interest in the wider interest topping the list of reasons for doing so 

Oil and gas companies are cautiously optimistic when it comes to AI

The GETI report suggests that oil and gas is the least advanced sector when it comes to AI, although a third of the sector’s firms do have an AI policy.  The report found that just 24% of professionals use AI in their role, and 19% displayed uncertainty over whether their company had an AI policy in place. 

Uptake of AI may be slower than in newer sectors, such as renewables, as oil and gas employees have significant skills in traditional technologies. That said, AI has a lot of potential functions for the sector, for example, helping with the optimisation of carbon capture and enabling more carbon-efficient production. 

The survey found that oil and gas firms are currently using AI for immediate needs, including safety and inspection, collaboration and automated workflows. The most used tools within the sector are machine learning and generative AI (such as ChatGPT). 

What’s stopping oil and gas companies from embracing more of what AI has to offer? The GETI report suggests that the biggest barrier to AI adoption is a lack of clarity around which tools would be the best fit for their firm.

The second biggest blocker was insufficient investment or employee support. Workers in the sector are concerned about a lack of human touch (40%), and 32% are worried about inadequate training leading to poor adoption and potential misuse. 28% highlighted concerns about cyber security risks with the adoption of AI. 

However, 71% of oil and gas professionals feel that AI will lead to increased productivity, while 62% feel that it will lead to new skills development. 58% said they expect AI adoption to improve job satisfaction within the sector, and 43% expect an increase in salary as a result of using AI.

Other important statistics from the oil and gas sector

The GETI survey also highlighted some other key takeaways around salaries, global mobility and career mobility. Here are some of the biggest insights:

  • Pay optimism is higher than last year; 69% of professionals and 72% of hiring managers anticipate a pay rise over the next year 
  • 83% of oil and gas professionals would consider relocating for work, compared to 81% last year 
  • The biggest barrier to global mobility for oil and gas workers is proximity to family, with 34% citing it as a reason not to relocate for work 
  • Of the 40% of oil and gas workers who expressed a desire to switch careers, 50% said they would move to the renewables sector
  • Within the last year, 81% of oil and gas workers reported being headhunted for another job, however only 19% said they would consider joining another industry 

Petrochemicals employees are embracing AI amid a rising demand for skills

The GETI report tells us that 30% of petrochemicals employees are already using AI, and a further 8% plan to adopt it within the next six months. 

Although the general outlook for AI adoption in the petrochemicals sector is very positive, employees are still concerned about the potential challenges. Topping this list is a lack of soft skills, followed by insufficient investment in AI applications.

41% are also concerned about a lack of human touch, and 35% worry that lack of training could become a problem regarding misuse or poor adoption. Only 13% of petrochemicals professionals were confident there would be no challenges at all with AI adoption.

This suggests a need for careful leadership from managers in the petrochemicals sector to ensure a smooth and advantageous adoption of AI tools and applications. 

Other important statistics from the petrochemicals sector

The GETI report also highlighted several key insights into recruitment trends for 2024. Some of the important stats include:

  • 80% of hiring managers and 75% of petrochemicals professionals expect to see a pay rise over the next year
  • 81% of petrochemicals workers would consider relocating for their job, and more than one-third of respondents are expatriates 
  • The biggest motivator for global mobility by far is career progression (47%), and the biggest barrier is proximity to family (43%)
  • A large majority of petrochemicals employees (87%) are open to moving roles, with 57% saying they would stay within the sector and 45% saying they would move to another energy sector 

The power sector sees AI as the key to career progression

The power sector is slightly ahead of the industry average when it comes to AI use, with 30% of professionals already using it in the workplace. A further 12% are expecting to adopt it within six months. 

The report finds that the majority of power professionals (86%) are optimistic about the future impact of AI, and many anticipate a boost in personal productivity, as well as spending more time with friends and family (78% and 64% respectively). 

Almost all respondents from the power sector feel that AI will increase skills demand, and two thirds expect to feel more pressure to sharpen their own skills. Notably, cyber security is considered a key risk to greater AI use for the power sector, alongside a reduction in the human touch, and a lack of training leading to misuse or poor adoption. 

Another key finding from the GETI report was that the need for soft skills (such as problem solving, creative thinking and critical thinking) is expected to rise, highlighting the unique human capabilities that work together with AI technology. 

Other important statistics from the power sector

The GETI report also highlighted several key insights into recruitment trends for 2024. Some of the important statistics include:

  • 91% of power professionals would consider changing roles within the next year, with 54% highlighting renewables as the area they would most like to move to 
  • 77% of power workers expect to see a pay rise over the next year
  • 83% of respondents would be keen to relocate for work within the next year
Learn more about these insights by downloading the GETI report

The nuclear sector is less enthusiastic about AI-powered technology 

While the majority of the energy industry is embracing AI, 61% of nuclear professionals reported not using AI in the workplace. A quarter of those surveyed (27%) do use AI, and 9% said they expect to do so within the next six months. 

A third of nuclear companies report having an AI policy in place, and 24% have read it, suggesting that those already using AI are committed to doing so in alignment with their company’s policies. 

Of those who do use AI in the workplace, the majority use machine learning and robotic process automation applications. Only 15% said they use generative AI, such as ChatGPT, which is interesting, considering that this is one of the top use cases in the other energy sectors. 

42% of nuclear respondents feel fairly optimistic about AI’s role in the workplace, and 36% said they feel very optimistic about it. While this appears to be a positive finding, it contrasts with the response from other sectors, where the combined figure for optimism is higher, and those who are very optimistic outweigh those who are fairly optimistic. 

The biggest blocker for AI adoption in the nuclear sector is insufficient investment in AI applications, followed by a lack of clarity on which tools provide the best fit for the company, alongside insufficient or poor data quality. 

On the more positive end of the spectrum, 69% of employees expect greater productivity due to AI adoption, and 52% hope to see an increase in job satisfaction. 

Other important statistics from the nuclear sector

The GETI report also highlighted several key insights into recruitment trends for 2024. Some of the important statistics include:

  • 51% of employees and 78% of hiring managers expect to see an increase in pay in the coming year
  • Just 65% of nuclear workers are open to the idea of relocation, 12% down from last year’s report 
  • 77% of respondents would consider moving into a new role, with 40% saying they would move to another energy sector 

Download the GETI report

This year’s GETI report shows that AI is becoming an invaluable tool for professionals across the energy industry. So far, the shift has been subtle, but the findings from the report suggest that it could become a lot more seismic over the next year or so. 

Some trends have remained stable. The industry on the whole reports good salary growth over the last 12 months, and the future looks bright from a financial perspective. The workforce also remains mobile, and career progression is still one of the biggest motivators for employees throughout the industry.

AI is likely to play an increasingly important role in talent acquisition, and employers will likely need to bring in new skills from other industries whilst also ensuring they provide their current workforce with the appropriate training to progress in this new landscape. 

To learn more about the latest energy employment trends and how you can adapt your business to meet the growing technological landscape, download the GETI report now. 

Download the GETI report 2024

This post was written by: Callum Donaldson, Vice President of Business Development & Sales