Mar 15 2022

How Utilities Can Find Professionals to Work with the Technology of the Future

It’s harder than ever to find qualified IT professionals. Here are some strategies that utility companies can use.

It’s no secret that employers across many industries are discovering new challenges in attracting talent. The current labor shortage and the so-called Great Resignation have made job openings plentiful and hiring more competitive.

According to a September 2021 poll by Gartner, “the tumult in labor markets today is partly a phenomenon unique to the times: 65 percent of employees say the pandemic has made them rethink the place that work should have in their lives.”

That widespread reconsideration has created a gap for many organizations as their employees quit their jobs and they struggle to hire replacements. “Remote and hybrid working setups have expanded the options for employees beyond basic economic incentives to move jobs. Brian Kropp, Gartner Distinguished VP, predicts that companies will need to plan for a year-over-year turnover rate that is 50 percent to 75 percent higher than they are accustomed.”

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Utilities Face Challenges in Recruiting and Retaining Skilled Tech Talent

The energy and utility sector is facing the same difficulties in attracting talent as other industries. And in some ways, this industry may be even more challenged because it relies on specialized workers to fill technical roles. As pointed out in a recent report from Deloitte, “Advances in smart grid, distributed generation, microgrids and energy storage are revolutionizing the energy business, which necessitates a new talent profile. Utilities need electrical engineers with an understanding of power and emerging technologies; technologists who are knowledgeable in software-based programming; and candidates who can adapt to change.”

Utilities are fighting multiple factors in the struggle to attract new hires. The industry must work to shrug off its perception of being static and old fashioned, while finding itself competing with startups, government agencies and well-established companies that may be perceived as better places to work. “With the war for top talent heating up, utilities may need to embrace updated AI-driven technology to turbo-charge the hiring solutions needed to compete," Deloitte reported. 

LEARN MORE: Find out how to keep employees engaged by providing the right hardware.

Improved Recruiting Efforts Can Make a Difference in Hiring Top Talent 

Though many industries are facing the same challenges, Deloitte recommends some adjustments utilities can make to their recruiting methods. “Using a creative lens to approach some of the biggest real and perceived gaps can help give utilities an advantage on the talent battlefield,” the report said.

Companies in this sector should consider rebranding to adjust the perception of the industry, refocusing on talent development and transforming the workplace to enable better development, sharing and execution of innovative ideas.

“Workplace transformation is a valuable tool for increasing productivity and attracting and retaining the new talent profiles,” the report notes. “To accommodate flexibility and move away from cubes, physical office spaces should be adaptable, digital, and offer shared working areas.”

READ MORE: Learn how to create a digital workplace that meets the needs of all employees.

Automation and AI Can Help with Recruiting and Hiring

In a recent online post, Natalie Runyon, Director of Enterprise Content and Talent, Culture and Inclusion Strategist in Market Insights for the Thomson Reuters Institute describes how artificial intelligence can help employers with talent recruiting.

“While technology has been used in the hiring process to produce efficiencies for about the last two decades, even these antiquated solutions are underperforming in the uber competitive war for talent. Many companies, therefore, need to update their technology to compete and drive efficiency especially as the war for top talent continues,” Runyon writes.

In particular, she highlights the possibilities for AI to be used to attract and screen candidates. Innovative companies, Runyon writes, “are using updated AI to ask potential employees to upload a resume or bio, then allowing the AI to match the bio with open roles.”

AI can also be employed to save time on scanning resumes. The technology can identify people based on the skills required for open positions, greatly reducing the amount of time required to meet a company’s hiring needs.

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