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What every energy transition leader needs to know to build the workforce to deliver the net zero challenge

2021 Sentiments & challenges from energy professional

Energy professionals believe the transition is doable but the general population do not is are we too over confident?

Culturally in the energy sector there is a belief that technology solves all – this change requires more than just technology change

This change is bigger than just energy and the sector needs to understand that

What leaders need to do:

  • Look outside the industry – what is happening elsewhere
  • Bring more diverse thinking

People are key to this change and they are highly motivated But companies are not engaging with individuals on their transition

“A workforce without drive and passion is like a machine without an engine” (national Grid) Building a motivated worksforce is key,

The positive is that people are very motivated about net zero and driven by a purpose

But only 43% of people believe in their leaders and companies are doing very little

What leaders need to do:

  • demonstrate the link to individuals’ work and the energy transition
  • Focus on their talent, identify the talent for the future and support them in transition roles to build skills and careers
  • Support individuals with the uncertainties that the energy transition brings

Consumer behaviour will need to change and energy companies have yet to understand how

This energy transition requires consumers to change their behaviour eg charging an electric car is different from refuelling a petrol car

How people’s behaviour will change and how quickly is not yet understood

What leaders need to do

  • Invest in their data, utilise it to track consumer behaviour, and identify what you want it to solve
  • Build skills and capability in your organisation to support the digitisation agenda

The energy transition will bring big changes in business models

The energy transition will require business models. The energy sector is used to long lead times, high capital investment, and a reasonably stable external environment this is changing. What will the energy sector be making money from in the future?

What’s clear is that business models are changing new entrances are coming, the barriers to entry are lower so companies need to be fast moving and adaptable to change

What leaders need to consider:

  • What is the commercial model for the future? And how are existing projects and investments aligned
  • How do you run different commercial models in the same organisation or do you need to separate
  • How to set up your organisation for faster decision making and speedy communication
  • How to bring in new thinking and change quickly to the external market

Skills transition and flexibility

The rapid change brought on by the energy transition has lead to changing talent pools:

– Restructuring and downsizing reduction in upstream oil roles

– More purpose driven individuals starting to want to move into the sector

But despite the renewables workforce looking to double this increase, this has not grown to make up for the reduction in upstream jobs. And what the future skills and capability needs for the energy sector has not been identified

What leaders need to do

  • Identify the skills needed to deliver the energy transition and start executing on a talent strategy for the future
  • Work with individuals and support their individual journeys and don’t forget those that chose to make a career in carbon fuels

Key learning all energy leaders should consider in their energy transition journey

Energy professional are highly engaged and enthused about the change and 48% of them believe in their leaders to deliver the transition

So Leaders should

  • Bring in diverse thinking from inside and outside the sector to deliver the energy transition to ensure that best solutions are developed not the obvious ones
  • Focus on data strategy and digitisation to understand consumer trends and opportunities to inform the energy transition and build the future organisation
  • Know the business model will change and potentially several times so set up your organisation for faster decision making/communications and how new thinking is embedded into the DNA of the company

Overall people are key to this transition, understanding them, what future skills are needed and bringing them with you will be key to your success

Author Charlotte Starkmann is the director and founder of energise consultancy that advises senior executives on business transformation and delivers strategic projects in the energy sector. For further information about the survey or to discuss further the questions that she poses and what that means for your organisation, she can be contacted as