Artificial intelligence: a new approach to attracting and retaining top talent in the energy sector
The sustainable energy field is changing rapidly. Global warming and climate change are accelerating faster than predicted by scientific models, creating a sense of urgency for the transition to sustainable energy.
The EU has responded by developing its Green Deal with the overarching aim of creating the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Ultimate goals include achieving zero pollution, affordable and secure energy, smarter transport and sustainable food systems. One trillion euros is expected in new capital flows into the sector. What does this mean for existing companies and employees in the industry?
“It takes 25 years – a generation – to transform an industrial sector and all the value chains. To be ready in 2050, decisions and actions need to be taken in the next five years.” – The European Green Deal
Managers and HR professionals will need to devise sharper training plans for their entire workforce in the face of rapid change and innovation. With skills gaps opening up in a matter of months, and greater competition for top talent, employers need to take a much more proactive and agile approach to keep their workforce trained and fully engaged.
According to the 2020 Global Energy Talent Index, more than one-third of professionals in the renewables sector claim their company does not regularly invest in training and development, and 26% of respondents said they’ve had no access to training with their current employer this year. Furthermore, opportunity for career progression is the primary reason – above pay – for employees choosing to stay or switch companies. While 46% of respondents expect to remain with their organisation over the next three years, 28% expect to leave. Of those expecting to remain, 79% could be convinced to leave if offered progression opportunities or a new challenge. Providing tailored learning and development pathways for employees has never been more crucial.
Developing such pathways requires an accurate anticipation of future skills requirements and an understanding of what training will be relevant as technologies change. Not an easy task in a sector that doesn’t stand still for a moment. That’s where the power of artificial intelligence (AI) could be a game changer.
The power of AI
To address this need, EIT InnoEnergy has worked with machine learning experts from TechWolf to develop SkillCharge Enterprise, a ground-breaking AI-powered tool that will help energy companies equip their workforce for the future and bridge skills gaps before they impact the business.
The platform uses explicit and implicit text mining techniques to analyse thousands of industry reports, job vacancies, course descriptions and other energy sector data to identify emerging trends, skills and jobs in the field. It essentially provides its users with constantly evolving insights.
In addition, SkillCharge enables organisations to map existing skills among their workforce and analyse company documents such as reports and strategic papers to determine whether the current workforce skills match the company’s strategy and ambition, pinpointing vital skills gaps that could make the difference between hitting targets or lagging behind competitors.
Last but not least, the tool performs in-depth online searches to provide course recommendations tailored to the needs and goals of specific employees or entire teams, helping to keep employees engaged, committed and optimally trained in the face of massive change.
“As the EU Green Deal emphasises the need to transform the workforce of the renewable and sustainable energy sector, we need to find tools and expertise to address this transformation and ensure every employee is reskilled to her or his full potential. With SkillCharge Enterprise we can now identify future skills for industry sectors, analyse the combined skills of an entire company’s workforce, and provide an automated indication of the right courses and training opportunities. This is true personalised learning, based on factual data coming from an AI engine that analyses live data from the global energy industry. This is performance theory put into hands-on use.“, says Dr. Inge de Waard, Senior Learning Strategist and Innovator at EIT InnoEnergy.
The screenshot below (based on a test demo) shows one of the many functions of SkillCharge Enterprise: analysing the skills of an employee, matching them to a vacancy you want to send out, and determining whether they can be reskilled or upskilled by following designated courses that address their skills gaps.