Balance of Power
Employees inspect equipment at a solar power station in Chuzhou, China.
PHOTO BY SONG WEIXING/VCG VIA GETTY IMAGES
Both fast-growing renewables and traditional energy sources are at an inflection point. Renewables are poised for major expansion, as public pressure to address climate change solidifies in global agreements to drastically slash emissions. Renewables are expected to make up 17 percent of global energy demand in 2040, up from 10 percent in 2017, according to PwC. Of course, massive change usually means change management—creating a need for project managers and program managers capable of leading such initiatives.
Worldwide, the number of jobs in the renewable energy sector is growing, now north of 11 million, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. That project appetite is expanding beyond traditional powerhouses such as the United States, China and the European Union. Job growth is surging in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The Vietnamese government has created incentives for solar projects that will help meet the country's goal of increasing its solar capacity to 20 percent of national energy output by 2050.
Meanwhile, oil and gas organizations are fighting to stay competitive in this new era of energy consumption, despite volatile pricing, international trade disputes and tightening worldwide regulations. Some are expanding and diversifying with renewable projects, while others are doubling down on digital technologies, such as initiatives to integrate artificial intelligence and drones into existing operations to drive efficiencies and boost bottomline benefits.
“The integration of different new technologies into the existing system requires a lot of resources, both from project management as well as subject matter experts or—as is often the case—the combination of both,” says Markus Schüller, group coordinator, Fichtner GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart, Germany.
—Markus Schüller, Fichtner GmbH & Co. KG, Stuttgart, Germany
For many organizations, that means hanging the “help wanted” sign, as CEOs are frustrated with a lack of digital know-how in their organizations. In fact, the lack of key skills is second only to commodity price volatility on oil and gas CEOs’ list of worries, according to PwC. Job seekers with the necessary skills likely will find organizations eager to make a match.