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How to refresh offshore wind’s hiring strategy to avoid project delays

Published by , Editor
Energy Global,

In the first part of a two-part article, Jordan Mason, Contract Recruitment Manager, Airswift, looks at the geographics of recruitment, the friendly competition from other sectors for skills, and how certification can be a barrier for some candidates.

Historically, offshore wind developers have relied nearly entirely on exporting expertise from Europe to fill open vacancies in developing markets. But exponential growth expected from emerging markets such as North America, Taiwan, and Japan will put a squeeze on talent.

In 2022, the Global Wind Energy Council estimated that 3.3 million direct offshore wind energy supply chain jobs could be created by 2025 based on its annual growth estimates. Indeed, the UK’s wind industry has grown a staggering 16% y/y, and is set to employ over 97 000 people by 2030. Similarly, North America’s recent target to install 30 GW by 2030 is expected to create nearly 80 000 jobs.

Although competitive salaries, attractive benefits packages, and well-defined career prospects will attract candidates to the sector, this can only go so far. Rather, a refreshed talent strategy is required to ensure projects are not unduly delayed by a shortage of skills. What that strategy looks like will ultimately vary by geography; however, there are several universal considerations to be made.

The geographics of recruitment need a shake-up

If anything was learned from the global pandemic, it is that many jobs do not need to be executed in a specific location all the time, and local candidates need to be upskilled to serve in emerging markets.

Most workers have an interest in relocating, often allured by the idea of an accelerated career path. However, for many, the practicalities of family life and the usual visa implications create a challenge in turning this aspiration into actuality. If the obstacles of location and time zones are removed, many more candidates for niche roles suddenly become available. Rather than requiring complete relocation, candidates could be given the option of the same role with occasional international travel.

A further consideration is keeping recruitment trends in mind. Year after year, Airswift’s Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) finds that Europe is the preferred destination for relocation within the renewables sector. Instead of basing a role on location, companies may find it easier to advertise the role as being based in Europe and provide assistance to relocate global candidates.

Although European fabrication will continue to be a major export, emerging markets, particularly those in Asia, are increasingly establishing their own supply chains and recruitment needs. The global pandemic provided a glimpse of what life will be like if more of the workforce is not sourced locally to meet those needs – in short, this picture is full of project delays. Successful recruitment of client representatives and quality control roles from competent local content will be vital for ensuring high-quality fabrication from hotspots such as China, Taiwan, and Korea.

Similarly, as offshore wind’s footprint expands globally it is essential that companies upskill local workforces to ensure global standards for safety and quality are adhered to without the need to import this expertise from elsewhere. Creating a heightened safety culture is a substantial undertaking that will need careful and consistent implementation over a long period of time.

You can view the second part of this article here.


For more news and technical articles from the global renewable industry, read the latest issue of Energy Global magazine.

Energy Global's Winter 2022 issue

The Winter 2022 issue of Energy Global hosts an array of technical articles focusing on wind, solar, energy storage, geothermal, and more. This issue also features a regional report on the Australian renewables sector.

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