Blog, Energy, Renewable Energy, Sustainability

Navigating staffing challenges in renewable energy: when contract could be the answer

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​The renewable energy sector is in a huge phase of growth and innovation, which is creating thousands of jobs across a variety of industries.

We’ve read about huge new investments in the battery economy, including the building of new gigafactories to make batteries for electric vehicles, plus new battery recycling facilities and energy storage sites.

Significant targets have been set in solar energy and the amount we can generate, which alone is promising some 10,000 new jobs, alongside countless other investments and initiatives to boost low carbon technologies.

We’ve seen the resulting rise in demand for skills firsthand here at Jonathan Lee Recruitment, with a 22% year-on-year increase in renewable energy jobs, and it’s a demand that currently isn’t being met by new graduates coming through.

Finding the right talent when there’s a shortage of skills

This industry-wide skills shortage is making the role of the recruitment specialist even more valuable.

We can help you stand out from the crowd and will use every tool at our disposal to help you find the people you need to achieve your goals in business. These tools include:

  • Years of experience in renewable energy recruitment and similar sectors
  • In-depth knowledge of how to unlock and nurture a talent pool
  • A huge network of contacts
  • A variety of creative solutions to deploy when skills are short

Sometimes this means looking at different recruitment options rather than the traditional permanent role – such as the use of contractors.

The value of contract roles in renewable energy recruitment

While employing people on a permanent basis can be perceived as preferable for stability, there are also times when contract recruitment presents the best solution, for both the business and the individual coming on board.

Filling the skills gap

Hiring contractors can offer an immediate solution to a recruitment need when there’s a shortage of talent. Short-term hires can bridge the gap and ensure projects don’t suffer due to a lack of skilled professionals.

Access to specialist skills

Renewable energy is an evolving sector. Think about the advances in energy storage alone; this brings with it a growing need for very specialist skills which just can’t be learned overnight (or within any short-term period). Looking for contractors who provide these skills can open up access to what is otherwise a very niche knowledge base.

Agile and flexible

A contractor solution can allow businesses to be more agile and proactive, bringing certain skills onboard quickly and exactly at the time they are needed. They can be scaled up and down as required to maximise efficiency.

Project or grant funded work

Periods of rapidly evolving transformation are often spurred on by major investments in new technologies and innovations. This results in lots of research and development, feasibility work and testing, which is often grant-funded. It can be much easier to attract contractors to project-based work with an uncertain future, as opposed to those who are looking for permanent work with greater job security.

Saving money when budgets are tight

Employing the services of a contractor can also be more cost-effective. It means resources can be allocated for the exact duration of a project without the long-term overheads associated with permanent roles.

Mitigating risk

In a sector where technology and methodologies are constantly evolving, contract roles can allow businesses to adapt without the commitment of long-term employment. This can be particularly useful when exploring new ventures or technologies, or when the future is uncertain, whether due to grant funding, ideas being tested, or simply the cost of living.

Building a foundation for something more permanent

When it’s difficult to find the right people with the skills you need on a permanent basis, there’s always the possibility that taking someone on a contract basis could lead to something permanent in the future. It could be that your contractor becomes invested in your project or business, and you may be able to entice them to stay if you’re ideally looking for a long-term hire.

Embracing a greener, more flexible future

The drive towards a sustainable future is unrelenting, and the renewable energy sector is at its forefront. As the demand for skilled professionals intensifies, businesses need to be agile and adaptive in their recruitment strategies.

When skills are in short supply, you have to go the extra mile to find and secure your candidates.

We understand the renewable energy sector and there are many different solutions we can explore to get you the best people. We work closely with businesses to prepare, plan and action-tailored recruitment strategies.

To find out more about how we can support you with your energy recruitment needs, read about our energy recruitment service here, or contact our Associate Director, Lee Elwell, at 01384 446154 or

You can also read more about the benefits of hiring a contractor in our previous article.

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