I’m still thinking about my Intersolar meetings while I plan our SPI trip, so I’m going to keep this month’s Outlook focused on solar hiring trends. I promise that, as we get into the fall, I’ll touch back into hiring for onshore wind and energy storage.
The most important fact to report is that solar hiring is booming right now! On average, EnergeiaWorks receives 18 new searches each month (a little skewed with January because most companies have fresh budget at the onset of the new year). But, in July, we received 36 new searches. This is really outside of the norm for summer. And this has turned August (typically a vacation-heavy month with low interview totals) into our busiest month for scheduling interviews. Given the current rate, we could close the month out with THREE times the amount of interviews we normally schedule in any given month.
Now, I’m not trying to be boastful — frankly, I’m a bit optimistically confused with solar hiring in this current state. Generalizing, EPC costs are down, modules prices are down, O&M prices are cutthroat, and there’s a HUGE threat of inverter cost coming with a 25% import tariff (and no inverter OEM can take this hit without passing some of this to the customer). Point being, even though margins are tighter for solar projects and equipment, everyone is optimistic. Hiring is optimism.
However, most companies are planning their 2019 hires with lower salary budget compared to the last few years. The three sectors we’ve seen that don’t follow this suit are C&I/utility-scale development, PV engineering, and O&M technicians. The demand is so high for talent in these areas that salaries are actually going up. Skilled staff in these sectors is limited, so there’s a bidding war between companies for candidates with these qualifications. Keep this in mind when you’re building your team and looking for talent. Get great candidates through the interview process fast and make a good offer right away. Time can be the difference between landing a great candidate or not.
If you’d like more information about global jobs in renewable energy, I recommend IRENA’s employment report. Domestically, the Solar Foundation covers important ground with their annual Solar Census; and AWEA issues a comprehensive report for onshore wind jobs in the US.
William is the Founder & CEO of EnergeiaWorks, a global clean energy executive recruitment firm. William is an accomplished writer and public speaker for renewable energy hiring trends. He also manages ‘Renewables UnWind’, a networking event for clean tech that has hosted thousands of professionals in cities around North America.