24 Feb The Intermediate Energy Management Talent Gap & Where now for Senior Energy Managers?
I’ve been recruiting Energy Managers and Energy Management Consultants for the last eight years or so and I have seen some interesting patterns emerge particularly from a talent perspective.
The intermediate Gap
Due to a number of ongoing and recent energy efficiency mandates, I’ve had the frustration of looking to identify Energy Managers, ideally with experience of between 3-5 years, and it has been a really challenging search.
I think in many ways the recession is to blame. Going back four or five years, times were very tough indeed and whilst Energy Management was, in many ways, immune to the recession because of its cost cutting nature, there were still many Energy Managers surprisingly made redundant. There was though, a lack of hiring raw graduates. The sort of graduates that would now have 3-5 years’ experience and be a perfect fit for all these energy management jobs in the market. I’m not even being that fussy – whilst my clients would, in the majority, like a solid M&E engineering background or similar, just finding a good intermediate energy manager with 3-5 years’ experience is a difficult enough ask. When I’m tasked with finding an electrical bias engineer with energy management experience and renewable energy project implementation experience, I know that this is going to be a very hard ask.
Where now for Senior Energy Managers
So whilst there is a lack of intermediate energy managers, what’s been happening to all of the Energy Managers who were at this level 4-5 years ago. They have obviously progressed. I’ve seen salary expectations rise from £45 – 55K to £55-70K. These, now Senior Energy Managers, are looking for their next challenge – a step up, career progression and the problem is, as you move further up the food chain, there is typically less opportunities in the market. A classic pyramid.
At the level of experience these Senior Energy Management candidates have amassed the next stage is usually moving into a Head of Energy Management role or a Director of Energy Management. I know a lot of the Energy Management Directors in the market and many are not close to retiring yet. Therefore, for new opportunities at this level, we are really looking at businesses that are looking to grow into new territories and/or replacement hires for one reason or another. I’m not sure how much room there is in the market for this to happen. If you look at the Energy Suppliers, FM providers, OEM’s – most of these guys have established Energy Management teams in place. There is some scope from the Engineering consultancies as they, if anything, seem to have pulled back from this market over the past few years as we’ve seen a shift from strategic consultancy and reports gathering dust on shelves to implementation and the rise of energy performance contracting.
So where does this leave numerous Senior Energy Managers looking for their next career move? I wish I had the answers but I think it’s likely to come down to decisions around lifestyle, culture, benefits and those kinds of things and candidates will have to move for like-for-like roles if they want to move. Aspirational Senior Energy Managers who have one eye on the next Director of Energy or Head of Energy Management will be making sure they have a career development plan in order – that they can beef up their commercial and managerial skill set so that they can differentiate themselves in what will be a very competitive application process with many willing suitors.