With mounting pressure to accelerate the energy transition, the Australian Government has doubled its targets for emission reductions by 2030 and set the goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. Businesses are now facing the dual challenge of transitioning to a low-carbon future whilst developing strategies to stay competitive in a global market.
The energy transition will impact every part of a company; supply chain, operations, sales, recruitment, brand messaging, and more. This requires business leaders to think differently about their workforces and talent planning. How can they satisfy the need for new skills in a competitive labour market?
In this article, we’ll explore how the energy transition impacts Australian businesses across manufacturing, logistics, engineering, and utilities, and share four practical strategies for talent planning.
Four ways the energy transition is impacting Australian businesses
1. Creating a more sustainable supply chain
Focusing on your supply chain is critical for sustainability optimisation – more than 90% of an organisation’s greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to the supply chain.
Forward-thinking businesses are assessing their end-to-end supply chain to ensure they align with internal and federal sustainability goals. This requires collaboration between stakeholders from the entire chain of sustainability, from the ultimate source point (i.e. suppliers) to the ultimate endpoint (i.e. customers). For example:
- Analysing the value chain and looking at raw material requirements.
- Implementing strategic sourcing process by using the company’s ESG criteria and targets.
- Partnering with stakeholders with ESG strategies and goals that align with the company.
- Using shorter delivery routes to reduce the carbon footprint
2. Exploring new business opportunities
The energy transition is constantly creating new business opportunities in the renewable energy sector, which means companies involved in the development, manufacturing, installation, and maintenance of renewable energy technologies are experiencing growth.
Take wind farms. The significant growth in wind power, including the first offshore feasibility licences expected later in 2023, promises strong growth for wind farm developers.
Along with renewable energy sources, large-scale storage systems are becoming increasingly important, attracting widespread investment in 2022 with the announcement of several significant battery projects. The Australian market for residential battery storage also grew by around 55% in 2022 from the previous year.
And with 3 million electric vehicles projected to be on Australian roads by 2030, there are significant prospects for businesses willing to invest in EV charging infrastructure.
3. Meeting the pressure of the fast-evolving regulatory environment
As policymakers continue to rewrite the rules on energy, businesses are under pressure to meet the evolving regulations.
The Australian Government has implemented a range of policies and regulations to encourage the adoption of renewable energy. The Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme and state-level initiatives, such as feed-in tariffs, incentivise businesses to invest in renewable energy projects.
For example, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has announced $70 million in funding to be made available under the Driving the Nation Program to foster innovation in electric vehicle charging solutions across Australia.
It’s increasingly crucial for companies to understand and verify their clean energy credentials, especially with strict global reporting standards being introduced.
4. Planning for workforce skills and talent
The energy transition has created a shift in job skill demand. The range of skills required is broad: from technical skills in manufacturing EVs and solar panels to engaging with low-emissions suppliers and meeting regulatory compliance.
Transforming workforces is proving to be a significant hurdle in the energy transition. Businesses need to analyse their strategies, assess what skills are needed now and in the future, and develop a plan for attracting, engaging, reskilling, and retaining talent.
Powering up talent strategies for the energy transition
Connect with the core beliefs of candidates
Prospective employees who value sustainability will be more attracted to organisations that demonstrate a genuine commitment to these principles.
A Gallup poll revealed that 69% of employees said they would look at a company’s record on the environment before deciding whether or not to take a job and will most likely go to social media to find out. So if you aren’t transparent with your green credentials, candidates might not even apply in the first place.
Highlight your company’s commitment to sustainability and the energy transition internally and externally in your branding and messaging. Share success stories, environmental initiatives, and corporate social responsibility efforts through social media, your website, and other communications.
Build a sustainable employer brand
Build an employer brand that speaks to today’s candidates, and that means focusing on sustainability.
More than 8 in 10 Australians agree that demonstrating a commitment to sustainability adds value to a brand, with 77% saying they want brands to reveal their actual sustainability record alongside their commitments, according to a BBC study.
Furthermore, strong green organisational values send a powerful message to environmentally conscious candidates. “Your values align with ours, let’s work together”.
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Organise employee innovation challenges
Employees with strong sustainability values will seek more opportunities to make changes. At the same time, the energy transition requires businesses to think and act in bold and innovative ways.
Ignite ideas and creative solutions from employees through challenges or hackathons, and provide resources, mentorship, and recognition for winning ideas.
This will engage and empower employees to actively contribute to the transition and can attract talent who are excited about participating in impactful projects. It will also open the door to new ideas that wouldn’t be sparked through traditional forums.
Green internship and apprenticeship programs
Building up the talent pipeline through internships and apprenticeships is another way businesses can fill the skills gap.
Develop internship and apprenticeship programs specifically focused on green technologies and the energy transition.
These programs can provide hands-on experience and mentorship opportunities for students and young professionals interested in pursuing careers in sustainability.
Partnerships between educational institutions and employers can also be invaluable in attracting talented individuals.
With the energy transition building momentum, it’s never been more critical for businesses to focus on talent. A shift is needed to build a workforce with the skills to achieve sustainability objectives and maximise the growth opportunities brought by the energy transition. This requires a fresh approach to talent planning, and that’s where Occulus comes in.