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The Australian Renewable Energy Sector – A Candidate Led Market

Tim Hall

The Australian renewable energy market is booming and recruitment into the sector is at an all-time high. According to the last Renewable Energy Index, the 2GW+ of large-scale solar farms currently in construction across Australia should provide jobs for 5,456 employees alone.

As a business, we’ve seen an influx of European and Asian developers establishing offices here and I’m regularly asked to provide market info for new market entrants looking to get a slice of the Australian action.

New entrants typically seek experienced hires who bring the knowledge and experience of the Australian energy sector with them. Take a typical Solar Project Manager vacancy. Experience shows that Australian businesses usually seek profiles with a minimum 2+ years’ working in Australian Solar PV, a technical degree in a relevant subject and eligibility to work here without the need for sponsorship.

But these candidates are limited in number and usually find new jobs fast having secured a range of interviews. So, with more and more vacancies, how will your business find the right candidates?

We saw similar candidate led renewable energy markets in Europe during the subsidy driven renewable energy booms over the last 10 years and our advice to hiring companies back then is the same as it is today:

  • Keep the recruitment process concise and well structured – don’t put eager candidates off

  • Promote your business’s goals and achievements at every stage of the hiring process to stand out from your competitors

  • Snap up good candidates quickly! Don’t wait to see comparisons or you will lose the good ones!

  • Use a recruitment agency who will provide you with prequalified candidates (a minor self-plug) BUT – the time spent trawling through irrelevant CVs and interviewing poor candidates very quickly adds up to the cost of an agency fee!

  • Recruit the best candidate for the job not just the candidate with the industry knowledge. You may even want to identify transferable skills in comparable markets to source talent. Hire those whose CVs show promise and train them to be the best they can be, rather than wait to make the perfect hire

I think the last point is especially important. In a candidate led market, businesses must do away with the idea that candidates need to tick every requirement on the job description. Think outside the box, recruit smart and you should find yourself in a stronger position to your competitors.