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ENERGYRenewables Sector Grapples with Skills Shortage Despite Strong Growth

Today, a priority for many countries is seeking alternative, relatively cheap energy sources, including the further development of “green” energy. This trend is brought about by the ongoing energy transition and uncertain international situations. In Poland, the renewables sector has been rapidly developing for several years, although it faces numerous challenges, including a lack of specialists. Recruitment needs are increasing, and candidates are primarily focused on development. Salary growth in the industry fluctuates around 10 to 15%.

The renewables sector in Poland has been rapidly developing for several years, though it is a very diverse sector. Due to limitations of the power grid, it is difficult to fully utilize the potential of renewable energy sources. Meanwhile, the construction of onshore wind farms has in the past encountered serious obstacles due to the so-called distance law. The amendment to the law, eagerly awaited by the entire industry, did not fully meet the expectations of investors, and it is still difficult to assess its impact on the condition of wind power.

“Existing legislative solutions are still not what the business world expected. Despite choosing the right direction, it still doesn’t meet expectations. There is still space to soften the regulations, which will facilitate easier development of projects in Poland in terms of the administrative procedure required, especially in relation to wind power projects,” said Małgorzata Wojdyna, Manager at Michael Page.

The global energy transition is certainly a driving force behind the development of renewable energy source projects in Poland. According to experts, this development will significantly accelerate in the coming months. This, in turn, will directly translate into recruitment needs. In 2023, the availability of candidates could not keep up with the demand of companies. Regardless of job level, employees with the right qualifications could expect high interest from employers, leading to a limited time for organizations to make job offers.

“In the renewable sector, employees are happy with their workplace. These people are well looked after by their current employers. If we have someone in the recruitment process, we cannot be sure until the end that we will close the process. We usually expect a counter-offer, which – we can almost be sure – will appear. The question is what will the candidate do? Will the potential of the current company, issues related to the quality of cooperation with the current employer, or other components weigh in? Among the factors that influence the employee’s decision are issues related to the size of the project portfolio of a particular company and their diversity. These are arguments that can sway the balance, but there are many factors. Many employees still feel some sentiment and loyalty towards their employers. If during the conversation an argument about the perspective of development and future projects will be presented, a development plan for the next year or the next year and a half, then this element of loyalty plus these additions and the financial aspect probably cause that often candidates stay in current organizations,” admits Małgorzata Wojdyna.

In 2023, the greatest interest from candidates was in renowned companies that carry out large-scale projects and take care of their diversification. Potential employees also paid attention to the level of decision-making power guaranteed them by the employer. A change of employer was associated with a significant increase in salary. Even those who did not change jobs could expect raises in the region of 10-15%.

“In recent years, wind power projects have been on hold, the industry does not complain about an excess of candidates. So far, these types of projects have been developed in 2-3 companies in Poland, which directly translates into the number of experienced employees in the development and construction of wind power projects. People with such experience become top-level managers or directors in the companies we are recruiting for. The pool of candidates is severely limited. We must also remember the issue of delegation or relocation. Not everyone wants to move from Cracow to Warsaw or from Warsaw, for example, to the north of the country, because there wind power projects have the most rationale, just like on the western wall of Poland,” explains the Michael Page expert.

When hesitating over the choice of employer, candidates strongly focus on opportunities to expand the scope of their competence.

Many new entities are entering Poland, investment funds that want to develop renewable source projects. In addition, conventional construction companies, dealing with infrastructure and volume construction, are opening up to renewables projects. These entities are opening new divisions, companies, they need qualified staff in the development department. Therefore, for someone coming from a well-developed organization, where their tasks are clearly defined and well-known, working for a new, fresh entity can be attractive because the responsibility will be greater and promotion can be achieved at a faster pace,” concludes Małgorzata Wojdyna, Manager at Michael Page.

For a candidate, such a vision will be particularly tempting, while financial issues do not play a key role, as they will remain on a similar level.

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