The utility talent gap is widening. New technologies and evolving markets call for a more proactive approach to building the future workforce.
Diamonds in the Rough
Retaining mid-career personnel will be important to a utility’s success.
leadership (or the lack thereof). Utilities cut back severely on their leadership training in the late 1990s. With a recession at hand, and having downsized to accommodate deregulation, there was little concern at that time around the potential loss of management personnel or, for that matter, the quality of management. However, the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 coupled with the potential loss of 70 percent of the leadership leaves most utilities ill prepared to meet this critical challenge.
While money is important to the attraction and retention of talent, future corporate survival in the utility industry will call for more than just dollars. Getting and keeping necessary talent will require developing and successfully implementing a comprehensive integrated people strategy. This is not simply a recruiting exercise. Every aspect associated with people, organization, and jobs will need to be considered. The ability of leadership to inspire, motivate, and retain critical personnel will go a long way in determining winners and losers in this battle for talent.
The clock is ticking. While most utilities now recognize their exposure, too few have acted with the urgency required merely to survive, let alone thrive.