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Are you taking the right steps to recruit and retain employees? Hiring trends and challenges in the energy and utilities sector

Are you taking the right steps to recruit and retain employees? Hiring trends and challenges in the energy and utilities sector

4 Minute Read

The energy and utilities sector is rapidly evolving — and it is necessary to ensure your organization has the right people with the right skills to remain competitive. Leaders must understand these hiring trends and challenges to recruit the talent your company needs to succeed in a competitive marketplace:

  • Shortage of labour
  • Changing workforce expectations
  • Impact of new technology
  • Decreasing job applications

However, understanding the trends in the sector is only the first step. It is essential to develop a strategy to address challenges and ensure your workforce has the capacity it needs to succeed.

Consulting Leader, Energy and Utilities
Manager, Consulting Services

Change is causing shockwaves across the energy and utilities sector as companies grapple with the introduction of new technology, the transition to clean energy, and evolving customer and employee expectations. These changes in the marketplace will spark new hiring trends — and may also cause significant challenges for HR leaders when planning for the future of your workforce. A workforce planning strategy is necessary to overcome obstacles and ensure your organization has the resources it needs to accomplish its strategic objectives.

How can workforce planning support your energy and utilities company?

Workforce planning is an investment in the long-term success of your company. Ensuring that you have the right people with the right skills at the right time can help you remain successful in an evolving sector. This process involves forecasting workforce demand, competency mapping, talent acquisition, and more.

It is essential to take a proactive approach towards recruiting and retaining new talent to ensure your company has the resources it needs to remain competitive. While workforce planning may take years to achieve results, it is a critical investment that will allow your organization to adapt to change and overcome challenges.

However, it can be difficult to know which skills your company will need as the energy and utilities sector continues to evolve. Additionally, new hiring trends and challenges are emerging in the marketplace — and may have a significant impact on workforce planning within your organization.

Energy and Utilities

Every business needs power to succeed. Whether you produce, generate, transmit or regulate the energy that keeps Canada — and the world — ticking, MNP has the expertise you need to keep pace with this dynamic market.

What hiring trends and challenges are impacting the energy and utilities sector?

The energy and utilities sector is facing extreme pressure as experienced workers retire, new technology emerges, and workforce expectations continue to change. It is crucial to understand these trends and challenges — and develop a strategy to ensure your organization has the capacity it needs to succeed in the future.

Labour shortage

There are currently three veteran workers for every youth worker in the energy and utilities sector — and companies are now struggling to hire new talent as long-term employees retire. A report by Electricity Human Resources Canada indicates that electricity companies are experiencing challenges in recruiting engineering-related positions, utility management positions, and more.

It is important to reconsider your approach toward recruitment and retention as demand for many skills remains high. It will be necessary to invest in communicating the appeal of the energy and utilities sector to the next generation entering the workforce, particularly since many entry-level positions in the sector require post-secondary or technical education. Building partnerships with educational institutions can help you connect with new talent. These partnerships will enhance your employee brand and keep it at the forefront of potential employees’ minds.

Additionally, immigration could help address the current industry labour shortage. Consider how to connect with immigrant communities or offer training programs to help newcomers to Canada gain in-demand skills in the energy and utilities sector.

Workforce expectations

The sector is not only facing challenges to fill entry-level positions — but also grappling with high turnover rates, which often point to a mismatch between employee expectations and reality. Many employees are seeking supportive working environments, a sense of purpose around their work, and leaders who help them grow.

This shift in workforce expectations requires you to examine both your approach to leadership and your workplace culture. Providing leadership training or other development opportunities to your employees can support recruitment and retention.

Exploring ways to lead with a human connection, such as by investing in additional training for your leadership team, can help boost employee engagement and retention. It can also help you navigate differences as newcomers to Canada enter the workforce.

Impact of new technology

New technology is emerging to support the transition to clean energy, such as smart grids, changing power systems, and distributed energy resources (DERs). Additionally, the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) has caused significant changes in the energy and utilities landscape.

While these new technologies will not replace skilled workers, employees may require new skills to work effectively with AI and other technologies in the future. Leaders in the energy and utilities sector will need to evaluate their plans to leverage these technologies and how this will impact job descriptions and competencies. It may also be beneficial to provide training on how to use new technology.

Decline in job applications

Energy and utilities companies need to take the right steps to sell both the appeal of the sector and the appeal of being part of the new energy future to potential employees. Job applications for energy and utilities positions are declining, and it is necessary to revisit your job posting approach to attract new applicants.

It is important to remember that applicants are also screening your organization during the hiring process. It takes between three to five minutes for potential candidates to assess your organization and determine whether they will even apply for a position. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure your job postings make an impact.

Sharing details beyond the skills you are looking for — such as your vision, mission, and values — can add personality to your job postings and help applicants imagine working at your organization. Reducing technical jargon in your job postings and reviewing your application systems to identify roadblocks can also help make the process more accessible.

Posting available positions on your social media channels as well as your website will help expand your reach and connect with candidates. Additionally, more individuals are willing to relocate for employment. Consider posting in areas outside of where the job is located and offering relocation assistance to increase your pool of applicants.

Take the next steps

It is critical to understand the hiring trends and challenges in the energy and utilities sector to overcome obstacles and ensure your workforce has the skills it needs to reach its goals. However, understanding these trends is only the first step — and our next article in this series will examine how to develop a comprehensive workforce planning strategy to achieve your objectives.

For more information about developing a strategy to support the future of your workforce, contact MNP’s consulting team. We have the experience to help you create an effective strategy and ensure you reach your goals.

Gord Chalk MBA,CMC

Consulting Leader, Energy and Utilities

Kelsey Bjorndalen

Manager, Consulting Services


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