Talent Gap to Widen in 2017Wed, 02/22/2017 - 12:09
Mexico is building an energy market from scratch, accompanied by unprecedented growth in renewable energy capacity driven by the country’s energy transition strategy. In addition to all the technical, financial and regulatory challenges that need to be sorted to make its ambitions a reality, the industry also needs to work on an often-overlooked aspect: finding and retaining the human talent needed to build and operate Mexico’s future energy infrastructure.
According to the report on Perspectives of Talent in the Energy Sector from the Ministry of Energy, there are 36,681 employees working in the power generation and distribution sectors, with 7,520 employed in the renewable energy industry. The clean energy sector has a surplus of 4,576 specialized technicians and administrative human resources but a talent gap is expected to appear in the short term, according to a Deloitte 2015 survey, particularly in the case of employees with engineering and science backgrounds and certain technical specialties. Considering that 16,230 employees will be required for key positions in the power generation sector in 2017, the demand for specialized human talent will increase in the near future.
“New and existing players exploring the opportunities that the new energy market has created in Mexico are lacking EPC experts to develop infrastructure projects in the power generation industry. This scarcity of qualified labor is due to the former lack of development of these types of projects before the Energy Reform,” says Juan Vargas, Senior Manager at Deloitte. “Moreover, the educational offerings of Mexico’s most important universities are generic and have not considered programs on new trends and specific abilities needed in the energy industry.”
The best course of action for the country, he adds, is planning for the long term on talent development and keeping a clear view of the requirements of the industry. “Mexico should focus on developing a larger technical education offering. Companies have strived to bridge this gap through technical training programs of their own or by bringing talent from their base countries but that is not the optimal solution,” adds Vargas. The opening of the wholesale electricity market and the liberalization of industry has also created a need for new positions and capabilities. As it emerges from decades under a power monopoly, the Mexican energy industry is not used to having competition but energy employees will now have to adapt to a highly competitive environment in which improving the company's service offering and earning the market’s trust is crucial.
Besides nurturing the required human talent, Mexico also needs to retain it. “In an interconnected world, the efforts of some companies to appeal to employees’ nationalist spirit have not been successful. The optimal solution will be to create agile and efficient markets to give professionals the opportunity to develop and build a career in the national energy industry. There should be incentives for companies to create attractive positions for ideal candidates through analysis and research of human resources and global markets,” he says.
Another important challenge for human capital in the energy industry is the age factor as companies are experiencing a crunch for specialized and experienced workers between 35 and 55 years old. In the next few years, around 4,900 workers from key positions in the energy industry will retire, according to a Deloitte survey, leaving a knowledge vacuum that companies need to start preparing for. CFE in particular is facing challenges in preparing the next generation of engineers and leaders to take over the company’s duties when current employees in key positions retire. To help its clients address this gap, Deloitte has a specific portfolio of human capital solutions. “We carry out a diagnosis to determine the prevailing culture of a company and develop the desired behaviors for our customer, providing a completely tailored solution. Another service we provide is the analysis of the required labor force of a company to optimize their human resource assets. Deloitte also offers talent management services, designed to identify and retain talent and to develop the desired abilities required by the company,” he says.