The Recruiter’s Outlook (July 2018)

Bag is packed and I’m confirming a few last meetings for my eighth Intersolar North America Conference. Thus, I have the solar employment market on my mind and can’t help but re-think about the module tariff that was intended to bring back US manufacturing jobs, yet, it’s done the opposite. We can now add Tesla (solar division) and REC Silicon to the list of solar companies who have been affected by the Administration’s tariff decision and have announced layoffs. 

It’s not all bad news, though. After a stellar Q1, the second quarter has leveled out. I attribute the hiring boom in Q1 because so much was on hold towards the end of last year — particularly in solar because of the uncertainty caused by the module import tariff. For EnergeiaWorks, the revenue generated from the first half of the year is the best combined Q1 and Q2 total in company history. While our revenue is just a fraction of the overall hiring in renewable energy, we are the largest recruiting firm that exclusively searches clean energy, and I believe our revenue is a good indication of the overall job health in renewables. Here’s a close look: 

In the first six months of the year, 69% of our vertical revenue came from the solar industry, followed by 10% energy storage, and 7% from wind, hydro, and energy services.

Breaking this down further into segments, 44% of our Q1 and Q2 revenue came from project developers in solar, wind, and energy storage. This tells me that developers aren’t dissuaded by tariffs or smaller profit margins compared to previous years. This amount is followed by 21% manufacturing, 15% O&M services, 9% engineering services, 6% construction services, and 5% other. 

One noticeable trend we’re seeing is that our manufacturing hires are decreasing and O&M services hires are going up. An interesting note on the manufacturing side shows our racking placements down and module placements up (although inverter placements stayed the same Y2Y). Cause? More developers and IPPs are holding onto their assets (mainly started in solar but this is trending into other renewable power generation) which is causing the uptick in hiring quality O&M engineers and technicians. 

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 V. Liuzza, CEO, EnergeiaWorks


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.

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