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Season 3, Episode 19: Developing the Green Energy Talent Landscape with Siemens Energy

Leading up to COP26, more than 90 CEOs of large multinational organizations signed an open letter to the world’s leaders committing to work side-by-side with governments across the globe in a joint public-private effort to accelerate the race to Net Zero. Their pledge - do more together to create a better world for people today and in the future. To be successful, they will need a generational workforce reconfiguration that includes developing a skilled green energy talent pipeline.

How can organizations help people transition into these emerging new roles? Why is self-insight critical to strengthening the key skills required for success in green energy? Join Adam Yearsley, Global Head of Talent Management at Siemens Energy, and Keith Campbell, Director at Talent Solutions APME as they discuss how to develop green energy talent.

Hosts: Dominika Gałusa and April Clark

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Full Transcript

Intro (00:01): The future of work, and the future for workers, is changing. From new technologies and talent strategies, to the management of tomorrow's workforce. Tap in to ManpowerGroup Talent Solutions' 60 years of expertise and join us for the Transform Talent Podcast, your guide to talent market trends, new technologies, and winning talent solutions.

Dominika Gałusa (00:28): Hello, and welcome to the 19th episode of the Transform Talent Podcast. This is Dominika Gałusa…

April Clark (00:34): …and April Clark. Leading up to COP26, more than 90 CEOs of large multinational organizations signed an open letter to the world's leaders committing to work side-by-side with governments across the globe in a joint public-private effort to accelerate the race to Net Zero. Their pledge: do more together to create a better world for people today and for generations to come.

To be successful, they will need a generational workforce reconfiguration that includes developing a skilled green energy talent pipeline.

Dominika Gałusa (01:08): And in celebration of Earth Month, we invited Siemens Energy, and together we will look at the growing need for talent in energy, the challenges and opportunities it presents, as well as the action Siemens Energy is taking today to support this global transformation.

So today we are joined by Adam Yearsley, Global Head of Talent Management at Siemens Energy. Welcome, Adam. It's a pleasure to have you on the podcast with us.

Adam Yearsley (01:34): Thanks. Great to be here. Cheers.

Dominika Gałusa (01:35): And Keith Campbell, who is our Director for Talent Solutions in the APME region. Welcome, Keith. Thank you for joining us.

Keith Campbell (01:43): Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here.

Dominika Gałusa (01:44): It's a pleasure to have you here. So let's start with you, Keith. Can you talk to us about the green energy landscape as it relates to talent?

Keith Campbell (01:52): Yeah, thanks. Um, well, you know, I think, as it's been mentioned, you know, many countries have really recently announced their various emission targets, their path towards Net Zero, you know, over the next few decades. And really that momentum towards, I guess, investment dollars in green and renewables has really started to build up. And it's not only just with governments that are making these kind of commitments, but it's also in this industry as well. So you might know that ManpowerGroup announced in November last year our plans with validated science-based targets to reach net zero by 2045 or sooner.

So it's really- with this focus in investment across both government and industry, we're really seeing the need for talent that really comes to help enable all of this 'cause it always sort of comes back to talent being the real driver behind it. And the opportunity for new job creation in this environment, I think is really significant.

So the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate estimated that in the run up to 2030 that the actions of countries taking strong climate action will actually generate something around 65 million new low-carbon jobs, which will deliver somewhere in the realm of about $26 trillion in global net economic benefits. The Asian Development Bank as well also indicated that every $1 million that goes into green energy investment generates around seven and a half full-time jobs, which when you contrast that with the same amount of investment that goes into fossil fuels would only generate around two- 2.7 jobs there.

So really there's a lot of opportunity in the jobs that we're seeing coming up in the green space. They're really wide-reaching, you know. Everything from sales, marketing, administration through to engineering, manufacturing and technicians, and a whole lot more. So it’s really is an exciting and growing space.

Dominika Gałusa (03:45): Thank you, Keith. It's great to hear how ManpowerGroup is demonstrating concrete sustainability commitments, and to learn about the low-carbon job landscape. What are some of the challenges you're seeing emerging as companies look to fill these roles?

Keith Campbell (04:00): Yeah, so certainly something we're seeing that's starting to play out in many markets. So as the demand increases, as that investment starts to increase, of course, the need for talent really goes along with that. But in many cases, a lot of these job are roles that might not have previously existed, or maybe not existed in those locations where the demand is starting to increase, so that talent's not available in the local markets. Particularly when you talk about specialist or niche types of skillsets.

So in the short-term, we're seeing trends of things like focus on talent mobility. And that's certainly one piece that can help, and particularly help certain countries and organizations move talent around. But really, longer term, you have to think about how to build skills for the future, how to create that kind of sustainable talent ecosystem for these new green jobs. And one of the ways that that can be done is through things like reskilling, retraining, and also upskilling programs.

So if you were to take an example of say, solar panels, installing solar panels. You know, could you, for example, retrain and reskill a roofing installer or an electrician to become a solar panel specialist installer? You know, looking at parallel skills that are transferrable. You know, I mean, that's just a simple example, but across that whole renewables and green kinda value chain, I think there's so many more opportunities to leverage existing skills and attributes to really help this green economy transition that we are starting to see.

April Clark (05:31): I think it's so interesting how we're looking at upskilling and reskilling for these jobs. Talking about talent development, I'd like to turn to Adam now to learn more about the fantastic work he's doing at Siemens Energy. Adam, could you tell us how your company is working to develop its workforce to meet the growing need for green energy?

Adam Yearsley (05:49): Yeah, absolutely. I mean, this is front and center for us at Siemens Energy. As a company, 1/5 of the world's energy flows through Siemens Energy. So as the world transitions away from carbon-based energy sources into renewables, we as a company are leading that transition, and we need to pivot and move quickly.

So what does that mean? Well, that means that fundamentally we need to make sure our workforce is agile, that it can change with those changing needs and demands. Keith said, you know, whether it's the roofer now installing solar panels, imagine that at a very large scale because we have, you know, around 90,000 employees in our company. And, importantly, it's about also setting up your employees so that they can make that transition. I think- and that's where we've put a focus.

How can we help people become more ready to make transitions, to make change, and to grow and develop into these new areas? And that's where we've spent time and actually worked with Manpower, actually, to put together an assessment to help people do that. So, it’s been a great journey over the last year and a half pulling it together.

But what we do is we increase the capability and speed to which people can pivot and maneuver into new roles. And for us, that gives us competitive advantage in the marketplace.

April Clark (07:12): So when you evaluated your options, what factors were you looking for to develop your assessment tool?

Adam Yearsley (07:18): Yeah, absolutely. It's a very funny and interesting question, actually, because what I'm talking about really is we wanted to give people self-insight so they could develop their strengths so then they could be better prepared to put on top those new skills. I think we all forget that, you know, there are some fundamental psychological strengths that allow people to succeed at work and allow them to learn and adapt quicker. And if you develop those fundamentals, then people are more agile to make the change, and better prepared to make the change.

So what I did was I looked on the market and, you know, what different companies in the past around psychological assessments. I was on the board of Hogan X, which is a R&D part of Hogan Assessments, so I've got some idea of what's out there. And it was interesting because the psychological assessments on the market, number one, they spend a lot of time diagnosing if you're like people in terms of personality, but they don't spend as much time and- or energy or effort in describing how people can be better, and giving them clear direction.

Um, the other problem is the assessments are obviously made by people that make assessments, and they tend to make quite the verbose, quite large, quite many pages of feedback. Lots of graphs, lots of information. And the world I live in is a fast-moving one. And the engineers that we work with at Siemens Energy, whether they're doing, you know, hydrogen or carbon capture or whatever they're doing, they have a limited time, and I have limited access to their attention.

And so what I needed was an assessment that was incredibly fast, very accurate, and most importantly, gave feedback that was very quick and very clear. Because engineers wanna get to the facts, they don't wanna mess around, they're not interested in the psycho-babble, you know, that quite often we do with psychologists. They just wanna know, "Okay, what are my strengths? Give me four, five bullet points. What are my weaknesses? Give me four, five bullet points. Do that on four things that matter, and I'm good to go. I'll work on those things, and then I'll be able to transition into the new energy fields."

And that's what we did and worked on with Manpower. So, quite literally, we created one of the world's shortest psychological assessments, and when you're shortening a psychological assessment, it's always a question of trade-offs with validity and reliability. And we balanced that with making sure it was also a valid and reliable psychological assessment. And that's what we've come up with CareerInsights. It's fast, it's short, it's to the point, and it gets the job done.

April Clark (09:55): I love the simplicity. That's wonderful. Critical thinking and analysis, initiative taking, and active learning, as well as curiosity, were a few of the in demand soft skills ManpowerGroup talked about in last year's 21 Trends for 21 report.

Dominika Gałusa (10:10): Good point, April. And in 2022 it's no longer trend. It's a reality, as Adam was just saying. So, Adam, let's talk about the assessment itself. What makes it different?

Adam Yearsley (10:23): Yeah. Many, many, many psychological assessments exist out there. This one is very for- very much for a specific purpose. We wanted to look at what are the factors that most make people successful at work. Many, many things make people successful at work, but some things matter more than others. And that's exactly what this assessment looks at. And it's not based even on my opinion, and it is based on a model that Manpower uses. But even Manpower's model was based on some other research.

And really that research says you really need three things. In a piece of research done by Bob Hogan, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, and Robert Kaiser. And those three things are that, you know, you need to have be rewarding to deal with, you need to be able to do the job, and you need to be willing to work hard. So it's what they can the role model. And those factors exist in the Manpower model of success, and to be honest, they exist in most good models of success at work.

And what we did was we took that model and we just extrapolated it a little bit further. So we said, "Okay, people need to be driven." You know, you need to want to work hard, and you're gonna need to work hard because it's a (laughs) lot of work that needs to be doing. You need to have good people skills because to solve problems you need to work with other people, and you need to be able to leverage other people through that. You also need to have good thinking skills because you need to have the mental horsepower and the CPU to be able to pool together different pieces of information, create solutions based on that. And then the last bit we added to that model was around creativity, which is, okay, you've got the drive, you've got the people skills, you're smart, but are you able to come up with solutions? Can you come up with new and innovative ways of solving today's energy problems?

And so the model is based on those four factors. Interpersonal, drive, thinking, and creativity. Three of them, interpersonal, drive, and creativity are personality, and the assessment maps wonderfully to the big five personality factors, so it's all validated in terms of what we're measuring. The fourth one, around thinking, is actually an ability. And what we're actually measuring there is fluid intelligence, the ability to process information, take on board new information, and make solutions out of information, which is a core fundamental aspect of problem solving. Which is what we do in today's knowledge-based roles.

So I was very happy because it's a model that I've worked with before in my career, but, importantly, it's a model which applies, and this is unique, it applies in every job in every company. This is the fundamentals that are needed for job success. So it doesn't matter whether you're an accountant or whether you're an engineer working on, you know, hydrogen, you still need these basic fundamentals.

And if we go back to our original problem that Keith really nicely laid out, we need to reskill and we need to pivot, not just my company, but society, around these areas to deal with climate change. To do that, people need to be self-aware and they need to know their fundamental aspects that they need to accelerate that repivot, to accelerate the reskilling. And those fundamental aspects are the same no matter what company you're in, no matter where you are in the world, no matter what role you're doing.

And it's that simple. And sometimes people say to me, "Well, Adam, an accountant doesn't need interpersonal skills and- as much as a marketing person." And we say, "Well, okay. But actually, good accountants have very good interpersonal skills. And if you're a very good accountant, we'll probably promote you to be a people manager, and then you'll need interpersonal skills." So there isn't really a knowledge-based role in any company where these things don't matter. And the great thing is, it's not my opinion, Manpower's opinion. It is, you know, validated, it's through meta-analytic studies of 35 years of psychology on job success. And it clearly finds these four factors more significant than any others.

So let's focus people on what matters, get them developing on it so they can transition.

Dominika Gałusa (14:31): I love what you just said. Let's put focus on what really matters. So how are you positioning the assessment with an organization?

Adam Yearsley (14:39): We've integrated it into our development framework within the company. And essentially what we're saying to people is, if you wanna develop, the first step is to know yourself, and to know yourself, please do this 15 minute assessment. And that's great 'cause it's only quick, so people don't mind doing it. And when you get the feedback, it's very simple because it's just four pages of feedback, here are your strengths, here are your weaknesses for each of those four factors. And then what we've done is we've mapped development to those things.

So our entire development ecosystem sits around these factors because we know that they're what's needed for job success. We've got an additional layer to that ecosystem, which is, we call energy skills for tomorrow which are more specific and technical skills, in terms of, you know, you need to learn about, you know, the hydroelec-, hydrogen electrolysis, or you need to learn about, you know, carbon capture from the air, or whatever it is. But the fundamentals exist there.

So it's fully integrated and embedded into our development landscape could be the first answer.

The second answer is often people come to us and say, "Well, Adam, we're a team. We wanna be more effective as a team." And we say, "Great." And also, people come to us and say, "Hey, we wanna be more diverse. You know, how do we- how do we handle diversity and be more inclusive?" We say, "Great. Well, on both of those things, team and diversity and inclusion, one of the first steps in that journey is self-awareness."

And if a team is self-aware of who they are as individuals and has some understanding of the strengths of the different individuals on the team, then they're better set up to work better as a team. A team that is unaware, if individuals on those team are unaware, and you're not aware of the strengths of different members of your team, then certainly that team will perform less than one that is. So this also helps us with some of the other challenges we've got as a company, in terms of working together as teams, and also with diversity and inclusion as well. Helping understand how your view of the world is not the same as everyone else's. We are all absolutely diverse, and the trick and the challenge is to be more inclusive, to understand your view is not everyone else's view, and to be able to take other's opinions in.

April Clark (16:50): Thanks, Adam. That's a great point. I'd like to take a step back out and look at the broader picture again. Keith, from what you're seeing globally, why is it so important for companies and employees to buy in to this transforming talent need?

Keith Campbell (17:04): So I think the simple answer really is that if organizations don't recognize the need to buy in, then they'll really limit their ability to- to grow in future years. And, you know, as Adam sort of pointed out, we see large organizations at the forefront of the green economy, like Siemens Energy, are really investing heavily in this. It's really because that's what gonna help drive growth into the future.

And, you know, across our organization we're seeing increased demand for kind of green and renewable focused organizations really coming to ManpowerGroup for advice and support around their talent plans. They've got these ambitious kind of growth plans, but also recognize that without the right talent they're just not gonna be able to deliver on that growth. You know, if I think within 2021, within my reach at the Asian Pacific and Middle East region alone, I think we had something like 30 different organizations come to us in the green and renewable space looking for support around their hiring, around their sort of talent plans.

If we take that sort of further to a global context... A recent example I can think of is in the U.K. with an electric vehicle company that had plans to ramp up their manufacturing and design in the U.K., but also to expand into Europe and into the U.S. market as well. And we were able to work with them through consulting engagement, really aligning with their two-year people road map. Looking at everything from the ways of working, getting into their organizational design, looking at employer branding, and the hiring process, even through to leadership development. So really setting them up with that long-term look at what successful talent looks like, and to support those ambitious growth plans that they- that they have.

So we can really see that organizations are starting to put that focus on talent and really thinking beyond just the- their immediate hiring needs that they see in front of them. But if we look at it from an employee perspective now, there's obviously career opportunity that's coming up in the green space, but there are really a lot of new and kind of different areas that they'll be moving into.

So I think that sort of lifelong learning mentality and the flexibility, you know, that the attributes that Adam was speaking to before really to help support them in understanding what those new opportunities are and what could be available to them. I think that's really important because the- there's job roles and job titles that may not even exist today that could be their future career path, so helping them to understand their capability and potential and how they can fit into and really thrive is going to be critical going forward.

Adam Yearsley (19:33): Mm-hmm (affirmative). Keith, I really like what you were talking about there. Absolutely. And it's interesting. As an organization, or even if you're running a country, you can see the thematics of how you need to shift you workforce.

Keith Campbell (19:47): Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Adam Yearsley (19:48): And I think you pointed out before, there's two carbon jobs for every seven, yeah, green jobs that could be created.

Keith Campbell (19:54): Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Adam Yearsley (19:55): That's an amazing figure. And I think what we do as a company is we understand that we're- we're working with people. And even though we as a company know, hey, we need to take these people and reskill them to this… As a company, if you want people to buy into that, it's not enough that you tell them, "Hey, this is good for you. Go learn how to go from," I'll use your example, "a roofer to a solar panel installer," because they say, "Yeah, nice. But I'm an individual, Adam." You know, I'm also different. And maybe I know about solar panels or maybe I don't or whatever.

But what's so- becomes so interesting is when you say, "Hey, here's the company," which is we know we need- we need you to go from point A to point B from a skill perspective, but we care about you as an individual, so let's understand your individual point of view and what you need to focus on individually. That's when the personality assessment comes out. And so it allows you to get a lot more buy-in for your company view because people feel that they've taken interest and their own view into account. And you mesh the two together. What is it I need to develop as an individual to be more successful, and what is it we need you to do strategically as a company to get us there? And when you mesh those two together, you get a lot more buy-in, and that's when you can pivot and be a bit more agile.

Keith Campbell (21:10): Yeah. Absolutely. And that's where you get that win-win-

Adam Yearsley (21:13): Yeah.

Keith Campbell (21:15): ... that win-win for everyone. And that's really what's gonna drive growth for organizations, for the economy, and also for the individuals as well in their- in their own careers. So yeah. Absolutely agree with that.

Dominika Gałusa (21:26): Thank you both. I have the last question, which we love asking our guests. And Keith, you also mentioned about the jobs that don't exist yet, so I'd like to shift our focus to the future a little bit now. So I have a question to you both. If we fast forward 30 years, what does the future look like for talent in the green energy space? So let's start with you, Adam.

Adam Yearsley (21:49): Yeah, thanks. I probably wouldn't fast forward 30 years 'cause I don't have that sort of visibility. My world is a little bit more dynamic, so even if I could fast forward 10 would be more of a stretch for me. If I look 10 years out, I see that we will have people working a lot more on, I think, more meaningful work because people will understand, with a sense of purpose and meaning, that what they're doing is contributing to keeping the planet at least from, you know, moving into, you know, climate change. I think people will find the work more meaningful themselves because they'll be able to get better at their work and they'll be able to grow at it because jobs becoming more complex and they're growing into those fields.

And to be honest, those fields, you know, loosely exist. You know, carbon capture from the air loosely exists as a concept. There's a few companies doing it. It is completely underevolved, in terms of the technology and the future direction it goes into. So as they exist in their jobs, their jobs are being created and the fields are being created. It's very dynamic.

So I think people will enjoy getting better and better at what they do because there'll be a lot more scope. It's less binary, less linear than the work of the past. I see it more as an evolving work. And I think people will probably find a greater opportunity to collaborate because the problems we're trying to solve are much larger than a departmental problem. It's bigger than your company, it's bigger than your department, it's bigger than your country. You know, these are global problems. So I think people will enjoy a lot more collaborative work, between companies, between groups, between countries, than I think what we've seen before because most of these problems can't be solved by any single country or any single company.

Dominika Gałusa (23:40): Keith, and what about you?

Keith Campbell (23:42): You know, firstly, I love that idea of collaboration that Adam was speaking to. And that's what makes me think when I think of the- of the future, whether it's going forward 10 years or maybe even 30 years, I think it's very bright- maybe a shade of bright green for- (laughs) for the green economy.

You know, I think many countries are gonna be heading towards their Net Zero targets, but some of them hopefully getting closer and closer to achieving them. And we'll see that that green economy is really becoming a larger and larger part of the overall employment landscape that we see. And even as economies start to manage that transition away from fossil fuels, that need for upskilling will increase, and we'll see more organizations supporting employees kind of through those transitions into upskilling those sorts of things.

As I said earlier, there are gonna be jobs in the future that we can't even imagine kind of sitting here. And probably in locations in the world that haven't really been traditionally big employers in the energy sector. We'll start to see that they'll have even larger and larger proportions of their workforce in green energy. So I think we'll start to see this kind of geographical shifting where the traditional energy workforces might be located.

But, you know, the one thing I'm kind of really positive about is, you know, in the future, I know that ManpowerGroup's definitely gonna be there right in the middle helping organizations to deliver on their talent goals, and also helping the candidates continue to find meaningful work in this new green economy. It's really exciting, and- but, yeah, I can't wait to see what the future holds.

Dominika Gałusa (25:14): It's definitely exciting, and that was a very interesting conversation. And it was a pleasure to have you both here. Thank you, Adam and Keith, for joining us today on our 19th episode of the Transform Talent Podcast. I hope that our listeners enjoyed this episode as much as we did.

April Clark (25:32): And to our listeners, don't forget to subscribe and leave us a review in your favorite podcast listening app. See you at the next episode.

Outro (25:41): The Transform Talent Podcast. Because we know the right talent transforms organizations and helps your business flourish. Talent Solutions, business and talent aligned.