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How Dynamic Utilities can Attract Top Technical Talent in an Aggressive Hiring Market

With a workforce as fickle as ever following a pandemic and the Great Resignation, industries of all makeups and sizes are fighting for skilled technical labor like never before. The utilities industry sits in a unique hiring space as they bridge the gap between workforce generations.

Managers and C-suite members alike saw one of the most unprecedented labor shifts in history as 47 million Americans and counting voluntarily quit their jobs since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Employees repeatedly cited workplace treatment, hybrid remote flexibility, antiquated internal technology, and neglect toward building workplace culture as a few of many factors for resignation.

“This labor pool, also in search for skill enhancement, has largely looked to tech industries promising greener pastures and sustained work suitable for the 21st century and beyond. While cybersecurity and AI lean heavily on pure tech development, the utility industry, tasked with proving the power these new-age tech giants, finds itself in an interesting hiring quandary.” Says Connie Testa, CSS TEC Managing Director.

The utilities industry is going through a revolutionary technical change thanks in part to grid modernization technology and conversions to renewable energy. This means current employees of the traditional electrical, civil, and chemical engineering backgrounds need to merge with a younger workforce trained in a digital-facing background for a fluid, reliable power supply of the future.

Utilities face this unique puzzle of recruiting talent to grow and digitize the power sector, and there are a few optimal areas to start.

Give your reputation a facelift

Face value and employer brand carry more weight today than ever, and utilities have the opportunity to rebrand as revolutionary tech organizations from classical bureaucracies. Shaking the current cultural stigmas of being static, snail-paced, outdated, and laggards while proclaiming themselves as the industry of the future is step one for utilities in need of digital talent. This means showcasing grid modernization projects like AI meter monitoring to the tech generation of the future is a must.

On the renewable energy front, companies like Georgia Power are selling solar PV panels directly to customers while Green Mountain Power in Vermont is selling lithium batteries to theirs showing promise of resource revolution, a factor near and dear to the hears of the technical Millennial workforce.

Embrace hybrid collaboration and a flexible workplace

Roles like electrical linework and gas pipeline maintenance – for the foreseeable future – will always need dedicated on-site employees, but office management, data and GIS analysts, and other growing digitized work showed resounding success working from home in the pandemic. Research found  that digital-first employees prefer a hybrid, flexible workplace beyond the pandemic, and Utilities should hear the call and shift their workplace standards. Policies built around in-person office standards should be revised for remote work to attract talented technical employees.

Invest generously in upskilling and training

Coupled with rebranding into a forward-thinking tech industry, utilities need to prioritize upskilling and training for not just incoming tech talent but existing talent as well. The requirement for expertise in a combination of classical engineering and software-based technical skills is rare in the workforce. This gives smart utilities a major opportunity to market themselves through investment in employee education and upskilling. Job seekers prize skill development, and utilities are searching for adaptability and agility making for a perfect argument for increased training.

Enhancing employee success and wellbeing

The pandemic and subsequent great resignation combined lead major employers to step back and listen to employees’ opinions on “wellbeing elements” which include workplace culture, purpose, and emotional stability among other neglected factors. If employers want to attract the best and brightest tech starts, these human elements need care and expansion. A recent Accenture report highlights six areas most-important to internal employees concerning company treatment from management on down. A combination of financial, emotional, international, physical, purposeful, and employable factors completes the “Net Better Off” framework that represents 64 percent of work potential to future employees. The overall health and wellbeing of employees is paramount to a thriving, dynamic digital utility environment.

Partner with recruitment specialist CSS Tec to identify and onboard top-tier talent

Outsourcing your talent search to an experienced and proven agency like CSS Tec is vital to filling digitized roles utility companies are desperately competing for. As a leading national information technology and energy staffing and consulting firm, CSS Tec attracts the best and brightest talent to the table to revolutionize the utility sector and energize our world. To get started with our team today, connect with us here to build your utility A-Team of the future.

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