Why are energy professionals looking for a career change?

April 11, 2022

Source: Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio

The sixth annual Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) report has revealed that the majority of energy professionals would consider switching careers within the next three years, with Oil and Gas, Power and Nuclear workers favouring a switch into the Renewables sector. 

Read on to find out why energy professionals are keen to change roles, and what you can do to retain your employees and attract new staff. 

Why are energy professionals looking for a career change?

Is the Great Resignation to blame?

The Great Resignation is a continuing economic trend that sees employees voluntarily resigning from their jobs en masse. It began in early 2021 and has a number of possible causes, including safety concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, wage stagnation, cost of living and long-lasting job satisfaction. 

Although these factors may have some influence over energy workers, the GETI report found that there are several reasons behind employees in the industry pursuing a new career, whether within their own sector or into a new one altogether.  These include career progression, innovation and ESG concerns. 

Career progression

Regardless of whether employees want to move within the energy sector or outside of it, the biggest motivator is career progression. 

This reflects an increase in Millennial and Gen Z employees choosing careers based on tech innovation, alignment with personal values and self-actualisation. This is indicative that companies need to embrace and promote sustainable innovation and self-advancement by offering opportunities for their employees to develop their skills, and ultimately progress in their careers. 

Environmental, social and governance factors

The survey found that this desire to change careers is partly influenced by climate change, with more than 80% of professionals across all sectors citing environmental, social and governance (ESG) concerns as a factor in whether they join or leave an organisation. 

However, over the last 18 months, workers have also moved to traditional sectors such as Oil and Gas. Additionally, half of those working in the fossil fuel sectors say that their firm’s ESG policies are robust. 

This suggests that the recent decarbonization efforts are helping to boost employee retention and recruitment across the more traditional energy sectors. 


Another big driver for career changes is innovation. A growing number of employees see it as an opportunity to develop their skills, potentially in other sectors. To combat this, organizations should promote diversification of portfolios and look at how they can digitize their operations. 

For example, new innovations such as AI are key in attracting STEM skills from other industries, such as technology. There is also a window of opportunity to offer the chance for existing employees to train and upskill in these areas. 


How energy businesses can retain staff and attract new hires

As career progression is one of the biggest drivers for employees to switch careers, it is critical that hiring managers prioritize learning and development in order to retain talent and recruit new workers.

Organisations should offer learning and development programmes designed specifically to upskill and fast-track professionals for promotion.

Employers should also provide more support and opportunities for internal and international transfers, as the workforce favours mobility over stability. 

Another way to attract and retain talent is to incorporate green energy innovations into your brand. It is important to offer new recruits the opportunity to drive innovation and decarbonization efforts and, where possible, offer internal transfers to green energy divisions. 

Building your workplace benefits around health, wellbeing and family could also help with recruitment, which in turn could boost diversity, skills and social performance.

Get more career mobility insights in the 2024 GETI report

Want to find out more about what motivates energy employees to change their career path? Download the GETI report today for insights that could help you to retain and engage your workforce.

Download the GETI report 2024

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