The oil and gas industry is currently experiencing a downturn that’s expected to last quite some time. A culmination of factors means that the sector will need to restructure itself in the face of fundamental changes. Although the industry is expected to renew itself in some form, finding work within oil and gas is likely to become increasingly difficult in the coming months and years ahead. Brexit may also bring additional complexities for contractors working on international assignments. Meanwhile, the renewable energy sector has been experiencing an unprecedented boom as many countries seek to fulfil the terms of the Paris agreement with sustainable green policies. This presents contractors with an opportunity to transfer their skills and knowledge from the oil and gas sector to the renewables industry, which has a significant skills deficit. Here we share our tips on doing this.
Familiarise yourself with the industry
The greatest challenge that many contractors will face in making the transition between sectors is getting their foot in the door. Currently, recruiters tend to use industry specific key words to search for candidates and draw up an initial long list. While the two sectors need many of the same key skills, the difference in terminology can results in candidate profiles automatically being excluded at the application stage.
In order to stop your CV falling foul of the ‘no’ pile, make sure you research the industry and familiarise yourself with some of the key terminology. This will also help you to see obvious parallels and how your skills align. Recruiters for experienced energy professionals are likely to see the potential value in recycling the skills of those moving from a well-established industry.
Make use of the help on offer
The depressed state of the economy is leading people in all sectors to recycle their skills. The government has recognised the value in getting people back to work quickly, so that their skills remain relevant. In his Summer Economic Statement, the Chancellor pledged significant funding for thousands more careers advisors. This included a special scheme to help people who have been out of work for less than three months to migrate their skills into other areas. The crash in gas and oil prices, coupled with the skills deficit in the renewables industry, makes this an obvious transition.
Hopefully, there will be some joined up thinking between advisors and recruiters. Although contractors can’t force this to happen by themselves, they can be proactive about speaking with recruitment and careers professionals about the kind of opportunities they’re looking for. Although renewables are making remarkable gains, nearly all industries have been impacted by Covid-19. While new projects are still going ahead, they are taking place at a slower rate in the current climate.
The long-term prospects for this industry are very good, but contractors also need to make their own opportunities. Make sure that you tailor your CV to each assignment and maintain an active LinkedIn account to connect with the right people. While not every avenue will bear fruit immediately, it won’t do your future prospects any harm. Sign up for as many job alerts and job boards as possible, and let these resources take some of the work out of your contract hunting.
Various government initiatives also mean that there are grants available for training, particularly in areas where specific skills are in short supply. The surge within green construction means that there’s a huge demand for people with the skills to install solar panels and other green features. Scientists, engineers and technicians are also needed at all levels. To see if there are training funds available that can help to tailor your existing skills towards the renewables industry, speak to a careers advisor at your local job centre.
Understand how your skills are applicable
There will always be a minor lag for people transferring between industries. However, once you’ve reassured the recruiter/client that you understand the fundamental aspects of the business, you can explain how your experience differentiates you and adds value. The renewables industry is relatively progressive, given its young age, and open to new perspectives. One of the benefits of bringing in contractors from the oil and gas industry is that they bring onboard expertise from a more established and developed industry.
Apart from specific disciplines like exploration and drilling, most skills are completely transferrable between Oil and Renewables. Supply management, manufacturing, installation and construction are all areas that offer great synergy between the two markets. A recognised professional qualification such as Chartered Engineer Status, is a good indicator that your skills have a solid relevant foundation.
Advantages of the renewables industry
While higher rates have been typically associated with gas and oil, strong growth within the renewables industry, coupled with high competition for skills, has made this a lucrative industry to work in.
The increasing focus on green issues also makes this an industry with good prospects. Since the Paris agreement in 2015, many countries are working towards a zero emissions policy, which means heavy government investment in renewables and the green market.
As the industry is younger than oil and gas, attitudes can be more progressive. Typically, the workforce is younger, and this can mean a greater emphasis on things like work-life balance, pay transparency and working conditions.
For more information on how to win contracts post-Covid, read our free guide here. ContractingWISE have access to a wide range of hassle-free services that can help you with setting up a limited company or finding the right umbrella company for you. To talk to a member of our team, call: 0203 642 8679