The Top Energy Industry Recruitment Trends for 2020

January 29, 2020

What are the key energy industry recruitment trends we expect to see in 2020?

Over the past four years, the Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) has gained reputation and developed into a trusted benchmark of recruitment and workforce trends across the energy industry. An annual report compiled by Airswift and Energy Jobline, GETI is based on survey responses from workers across oil and gas, renewables, petrochemicals, nuclear and power. This year’s report is the biggest yet, with data collected from nearly 21,000 energy industry professionals. 

With the launch of the 2020 GETI report, we’re looking at the energy industry’s top priorities and challenges for the year ahead. The report shows us that the industry has the advantage of a highly ambitious and engaged workforce, but unless organisations can ensure their workers feel more valued, employees might start to look elsewhere for work.

For example, the report’s findings revealed that, despite high engagement, energy professionals are unsure of the extent to which they are valued by their organisations. Just one third of employees feel valued a lot, with more than half feeling undervalued at work. 

This is important when you consider that 3 in 10 respondents would consider leaving their organisation within the next three years. In an industry that continues to get more competitive, with employees willing to switch to new sectors, persuading professionals that their talent is valued should be of the highest importance. 

Read on to find out more of the top recruitment trends for 2020, with insights into training and development, diversity, global mobility and more. 


Training and development opportunities for the energy industry

A workforce that cares deeply about career progression, training and development opportunities plays a significant part in talent attraction and retention. However, the results of our survey suggest current levels of investment leave something to be desired.

A significant number (44%) of GETI respondents across the energy industry reported that their employers don’t invest in regular training and development.

What’s more, 38% of those who do receive regular training feel that it holds a greater focus on improving their current performance than to develop their career. In fact, just 8% thought their training was designed for this purpose.

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Fig 1. Training and development investment within the energy sector

What role does training and development play in recruitment trends?

According to Hannah Peet, Managing Director at Energy Jobline, the number of employees doubting that their employers invest regularly in their training and development could be down to lack of communication:

More hiring managers say there is training, and they should know, given their position. Possibly, this is a perception issue and companies could do better at communicating their training schemes internally
Hannah Peet, speaking about the percentage of oil and gas workers who feel that their company does not regularly invest in training.

This implies that employees aren’t fully aware of existing courses currently available within organisations. However, it’s also worth considering whether the training being offered is fully aligned with the way in which employees prefer to learn. 

By better communicating the types of training on offer within organisations, the energy industry will be better able to retain and attract talent. Realigning the types of training with workers’ preferred learning styles will also help with this. These measures will make employees feel more valued and show them that there’s room to grow within the organisation. 

In some companies, the focus should be look beyond highlighting existing training programmes. Improving access to external training or providing employees with an increased say in how training budgets are used could improve the learning and development strategy considerably. Employers should consider gathering feedback on how well training is utilised and perceived by existing staff to help improve current programme offerings. 

Get more insights into training and development trends in the full report

Download the 2020 GETI report

Salaries and remuneration in the energy industry

Pay increases were highlighted as a key factor in encouraging employee retention. With just over half of respondents reporting pay increases in 2019, this spells good news for energy companies. 

What’s more, the industry as a whole is optimistic that pay will increase over the next year. 

Overall, remuneration rose within the energy industry, with 51% of salaries and contract day rates increasing. 

Employees in the petrochemicals industry were especially prosperous, with 29% reporting a raise of more than 5%.

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Fig 2. Salary increases/decreases for energy sector over the last 12 months

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Fig 3. Pay optimism for energy professionals in 2020


Did power professionals receive the pay increases they expected? 

Although remuneration has improved across the industry, it has done so at a slower rate in some sectors.

For example, in the power sector, 48% received pay increases in the last year, 8% fewer than last year and below the expectation of the 74% who said they expected a pay rise in 2019.

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Fig 4. Pay increase/decreases for the power industry


Regardless, the power sector remains optimistic, with 42% of professionals expecting a salary increase of more than 5% in 2020

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Fig 5. Pay optimism for the power industry in 2020 


What impact will energy industry pay and compensation expectations have on recruitment trends?

The majority of respondents (36%) are expecting their salaries to increase by more than 5% in 2020, and a further 30% are expecting salaries to increase by 0-5%.

This suggests that organisations are generally performing well within the energy industry and staff are of the belief that more money will be invested into personnel. 

Skills shortages in the industry are not a new thing, and they’re not going away. This means it’s very much a seller’s market in specialised disciplines; with companies having no option but to pay a premium to get the talent they need to fill their roles. 

Get more insight into salary and benefits within the energy industry by downloading the full report.

Download the 2020 GETI report

Relocation trends in the energy industry


The energy industry is globally dynamic, with project lifecycles that span multiple continents and international candidates willing to relocate to work on them. 

By embracing this and widening their employee search to countries beyond their business location, organisations benefit from experience and skills gained elsewhere to meet project needs, upskill their workforce, increase safety and reduce project delays. 

The willingness for talent to move countries also has a significant benefit to nations wishing to improve the quality and expertise of their own engineering pipeline. Local talent can benefit from the knowledge, mentorship and processes of international workers sharing their ideas.

The GETI report showed positive results for global mobility, with 89% of respondents claiming that they would consider relocating for their job.

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Fig 6. Percentage of energy professionals who would consider relocation

Career progression was cited as the biggest factor attracting talent to another region, with 41% of respondents stating this as their main reason for being attracted to another area. Europe topped the overall list of preferred locations (24%), followed by the Middle East (19%).

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Fig 7. Preferred destinations for relocation 

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Fig 8. Reasons for being attracted to other regions for work 

What impact does global mobility have on energy recruiting and hiring?

The energy industry is already heavily globally mobile, but with more and more workers stating their willingness to relocate in order to boost their career, it’s important for organisations to put measures in place to promote career progression. 

Europe was a popular destination for potential relocators - especially within renewables. European firms in particular should expect to welcome more expatriates and ensure they are highlighting and promoting development opportunities, benefits and progression plans in order to attract the best talent. 

Get more insights about global mobility trends by downloading the full GETI report.

Download the 2020 GETI report

Sector mobility in the energy industry

Career progression is at the forefront of employees’ minds and is a significant influence for switching to other sectors. This suggests that energy companies need to be doing more to ensure their staff have a clear progression path if they want to keep hold of top talent. 

Despite the majority of respondents saying they would be quite/very likely to remain with their current organisation for the next three years, 77% claimed they would consider switching to a role in another sector.

The most commonly cited reason was a desire for career progression, followed by interest in the wider industry.

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Fig 9. Percentage of energy professionals who would
consider switching to a different sector

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Fig 10. Reasons energy professionals would consider moving to a new sector

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Fig 11. Most attractive sectors for professionals willing to move

The biggest source of talent competition is the green energy sector, highlighted as the most popular sector to relocate to by 41% of respondents. 

Those working in the renewables sector cited the power and oil and gas sectors as the areas they’d be most inclined to move to, with 47% and 39% of votes respectively. 

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Fig 12. Which sectors are renewables professional looking to move to?

Will career mobility impact recruitment trends in the energy industry?

Competition for talent in the energy industry is increasing. The findings from the GETI report suggest that progression and development are essential to attracting talent that is dynamic and willing to relocate internationally.

Proactive organisations need to make sure they are designing talent pipeline strategies with defined career pathways and opportunities for assignments that stretch and develop their employees. 

Progressive organisations implementing these suggestions will benefit from a stronger employee brand proposition, which will aid in the attraction and retention of career motivated, talented and enthusiastic teams.

Crafting the employee brand proposition to attract candidates outside the organisation’s traditional sector could be a successful strategy. The findings from GETI demonstrate that many technical specialists with transferable skills are interested in moving to new sectors.

Get more insights into sector mobility by downloading the full GETI 2020 report.

Download the 2020 GETI report

Employee value proposition trends for energy firms to consider


Feeling valued is an important cultural factor in any industry, but the GETI report revealed that more than half of energy professionals do not feel fully valued within their job roles. 

Employees want to be sure that their employers value them. The GETI report found that 58% of energy professionals feel undervalued.

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Fig 13. Do energy professionals feel valued by their organisations?


How can the energy industry improve its employer brand?

Organisations should take measures to ensure their current talent pool feel valued and aren’t tempted to jump ship to another sector with better opportunities.

Possible measures to consider include:

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  • Offering, communicating and expanding the range of training 
    schemes available to help staff progress in their careers

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  • Encouraging feedback from your workforce on the training methods they prefer. The survey results highlighted a demand for practical based training but respondents were more likely to have received online learning which was less in demand

    2020 GETI Data Graphics-11-career progression
  • Establishing clear career progression plans and regular career conversations outlining expectations and objectives for progression and update job descriptions to include future development needs

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  • Offering generous holiday allowances, relocation packages or travel reimbursement

  • Providing benefits such as private health care and wellbeing schemes to 2020 GETI Data Graphics-11-health careacknowledge the full compensation package its impact beyond basic remuneration


Find out more about cultural trends within the energy workforce by
downloading the full GETI report

Download the 2020 GETI report

Diversity in the energy industry

Diversity is essential for the energy sector to thrive and continue to innovate.

With advances in technology and artificial intelligence, the industry anticipates significant disruptions which will expand the skills gap. It is more important than ever that companies attract candidates of all ages, genders and backgrounds. 

Findings from the GETI report reveal that workers are generally satisfied with their organisations’ efforts to expand diversity within the business, but there is room for improvement. 

44% of overall respondents said that their organisation has initiatives in place to improve diversity and inclusion. The nuclear sector leads the way, with 56% of respondents believing this to be the case. 

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Fig 14. Does your organisation have initiatives to improve diversity?

However, findings from the report highlight that respondents under 35 year-old were less likely to respond positively on the number of initiatives in place to improve diversity and inclusion.

What impact will diversity and inclusion have on recruitment trends in the energy industry?

The energy industry overall seems satisfied with their organisations’ performance when it comes to diversity, in spite of a lack of initiatives to encourage greater diversity within companies. 

That said, younger employees are less positive around this issue, which means that organisations cannot afford to get complacent.

Although most employees appear satisfied with efforts to increase diversity today, companies need to be constantly improving their initiatives to embrace a fully diverse workforce and ensure their employer brand continues to appeal to younger candidates. 

Download the full Global Energy Talent Index

For more insights into the energy industry’s talent landscape, and to get a clear picture of how the landscape looks for each individual sector, download the 2020 GETI report today.

Download the 2020 GETI report

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This post was written by: Callum Donaldson, Regional Sales Director - North America