The energy and power sector is one of the most critical and rapidly growing industries globally. With the rising demand for energy and the increasing focus on sustainable power sources, the sector is undergoing significant transformations that require highly skilled engineering professionals. 

Despite the growing demand for these professionals, the industry is facing numerous challenges that are impacting the acquisition and retention of engineering employees. As an employer, it is essential to be aware of these challenges and address them proactively to ensure you attract and retain the best engineering talent.  

As an organisation operating in this sector, have you taken adequate measures to acquire and retain the best engineering talent despite the obstacles? 

Aging workforce 

One significant challenge that the industry is grappling with is the aging workforce. According to a report produced by Engineering UK in 2019, the average age of engineers in the UK is 42 years old. With many experienced engineers approaching retirement age, they are starting to leave behind a gap in knowledge and expertise. Employers must find effective ways to transfer knowledge and expertise to the next generation of engineers to ensure a smooth transition and prevent a loss of vital knowledge. 

A report by the Institution of Engineering and Technology revealed that nearly half of engineering and technical companies in the UK are facing alarming skills gaps in their workforce. The aging workforce is certainly playing its part as one-third of companies are seeing shortages in engineering and technical skills among their apprentices and trainees. These figures suggest that the industry is not doing enough to invest in the next generation of engineers. 

A report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that 94% of employees who receive training and development opportunities feel valued by their employer. Additionally, 70% of employees who have access to training and development programs are more likely to remain with their current employer. In the same CIPD survey, over 80% of employees who received training and development opportunities reported increased job satisfaction and motivation. 

Stress management 

One of the biggest obstacles facing engineering in the energy and power sector is the issue of stress management. Despite a high demand for work, there is a limited pool of talent available, leading to heightened stress levels for employees. Multiple studies and reports in the UK have highlighted the severity of this issue. 

For instance, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers discovered that 53.7% of engineers in the UK feel that work-related stress negatively impacts their mental health, with 71.2% having gone to work despite feeling emotionally or mentally unwell. The Institution of Engineering and Technology's report revealed that nearly half of UK engineers feel that their workload is too heavy, while 38% find their work to be excessively demanding. 

It's worth noting that a recent survey by Perkbox, an employee benefits provider, showed that a whopping 76% of UK employees believe that benefits like mental health support and flexible working arrangements would increase their loyalty to their employer. 

Clearly, stress management is a pressing issue that the industry must address to improve the well-being of its workers and attract and retain top talent. 

Staff safety 

Safety is a major concern in the energy and power sector in the UK. There is a critical need for employers in this sector to prioritise safety in the workplace and ensure that all employees receive proper safety training. 

However, ensuring safety in the workplace not only benefits employees, but it also impacts staff retention. When employees feel safe and valued, they are more likely to remain with their employer. In fact, a study by the HSE found that companies with effective health and safety management systems have better employee retention rates than those without. 

Inclusivity and diversity 

The power and energy sector has recognised the importance of promoting diversity and inclusivity. Historically, this industry has been lacking in diversity and representation from underrepresented groups. For example, as of 2021, women only accounted for 24% of the UK energy sector workforce, with only 16.5% representing the engineering workforce. 

Employers can take action by implementing policies and practices that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. One effective approach is through targeted recruitment strategies aimed at underrepresented groups. For example, creating apprenticeships and training programs for women and people from minority backgrounds can attract a more diverse range of candidates to the industry. 

Diversity training is also important to create an inclusive workplace culture. Employees can be trained on topics such as unconscious bias, inclusive language, and cultural awareness to foster a welcoming environment for everyone. 

To make your organisation a more attractive place to work, and to improve staff retention, it's important to create a workplace culture that values all employees. Some key measures to achieve this are offering support for employees with disabilities, providing flexible work arrangements to accommodate caring responsibilities, and ensuring equal access to career advancement opportunities. 

What else can we do as an organisation? 

The energy and power sector is rapidly changing, and it is essential for employers to address the challenges facing the acquisition and retention of engineering employees. The aging workforce, stress management, staff safety, and inclusivity and diversity are some of the challenges that must be addressed to attract and retain top talent. 

Fortunately, our team of industry experts is here to help. We're employment consultants who can provide you with the support you need to find the right talent for your business. Our approach is all about transformation, not just transactions. We prioritize quality, consistency, and delivery to ensure that you get the best results. 

If you're looking for a partner who can help you navigate the challenges of acquiring and retaining engineering talent, then reach out to one of our consultants today. Let us show you why Electus is the right choice for your business.