New South Wales:
The majority of new positions in the energy industry are on a contract basis, with the main areas of focus being on less traditional areas of the sector such as transmission and distribution.
Following the renewable energy target (RET) compromise, the focus in New South Wales has shifted to small-scale rooftop or commercial solar projects, and renewable/clean energy/cogeneration - trigeneration projects.
The power generation industry is the only area of the market that has not been impacted by the RET compromise. This is because power stations have to go through routine maintenance programs, so regardless of market conditions this is always an area where hiring occurs.
In terms of skills in demand for the July to September quarter, we’re seeing high demand in New South Wales for Project Engineers (Electricity) with experience in solar electricity generation. The majority of employers require candidates with expertise in small scale solar projects.
Project Engineers (Civil) with design review and construction supervision expertise are in the most demand in this field. While the transmission and distribution market is quiet, accredited service providers are picking up any work that is becoming available.
While demand for traditional power generation is low, employers who operate the assets still need to be able to effectively manage planned outages over the next 18 months. This is creating demand for Outage specialists who can work on contracts. The next planned outages in NSW are scheduled for spring, so demand is starting to increase.
We have seen a positive increase in specialist roles. A number of employers are restructuring and are looking to gain more expertise in specific sectors by hiring specialists. This will enable them to provide greater service to clients in what is becoming a fickle market.
Employers are often looking for candidates with like-for-like skills or people who can offer more value for a similar remuneration package. There is a developing trend for employers to extend shortlists so that they compare candidates. However, this is sometimes slowing the recruitment process and resulting in employers missing out on valuable candidates.
In terms of skills in demand for the July to September quarter, we’re seeing high demand in Western Australia for Switching Operators with Western Power accreditation. However there is a small number of candidates that operate in this market.
Operations Managers with experience in risk mitigation are also highly sought after. Those who can closely manage budget expenditure are favoured.
Generator specialists with an A grade licence and mid-management experience are also needed.
Candidates in Western Australia’s energy market are seeking stability and this has created a noticeable shift away from temporary roles towards more permanent vacancies. Candidates are also starting to seek interstate roles as well as challenging projects abroad.
The theme for this quarter will be the continued focus of employers on diversification. This is likely to produce temporary positions with employers who are either bidding for work outside of their usual remit or for those who have secured small contracts in a new area. For example, companies that usually specialise in auditing are now looking to move into overhead design work and are therefore looking to build expertise in this area.
The number of candidates on the market is continuing to increase as distributors try to do more with less, and this is reflected in the streamlining of companies’ business units. There continues to be a steady creation of new jobs at retailers as they enter the energy metering market. We may well see this continue to develop and could potentially see candidates move away from the distributors and into new teams within retailers.
Consultancies that provide services within the energy sector may continue to see growth due to the changes in the energy metering market. Customers around Victoria could potentially look to outsource certain aspects of their energy usage as the processes become more convoluted and complex.
In terms of skills in demand for the July to September quarter, we’re seeing high demand for highly analytical Data Analysts who have experience dealing with meter data. Those with experience in retailer and distributor engagement are favoured as retailers enter the energy metering market.
There continues to be a need for HV Electricians and Fitters for two projects based in Victoria. With more packages of work expected, demand will be ongoing in this area.
Demand for Energy Consultants is expected to rise due to the need for people who can manage a range of energy clients. Candidates with account management and analytical skills are required to meet the needs of retailer, distributor or commercial and industrial customers. The spike in demand for consultants will come as a result of the increasing complexity of energy products.
Queensland’s energy market continues to be driven by contract roles. When they recruit, employers will only consider local staff. With a lot more candidates on the market, energy professionals have become more realistic in their salary expectations.
In terms of skills in demand for the July to September quarter, we’re seeing demand in Queensland for Linesmen/women who are qualified on the local networks.
In terms of candidate trends, people are a lot more open to relocating to areas where the work is, and will consider contract roles. They are also a lot more open to what employers are looking for.