Report: A dramatic rise in applications from young people for work in the renewable energy sector

Research from Handshake – a jobs platform – also notes energy companies are actively recruiting young talent

Over the past year, “we saw an increase of about 71% in the number of applications per job for jobs at energy companies – compared to an increase of about 35% just across all industries,” says Kate Urban, senior research writing manager at Handshake – a jobs platform for college students and young talent. “We are really seeing interest increasing from this generation of talent in working in energy and especially in renewable energy.”

Kate Urban, senior research writing manager, Handshake

The finding is part of a new Handshake report – Industry spotlight: How Gen Z is powering the renewable energy transition.

Urban notes, “Not surprisingly, Gen Z is a group that’s really concerned about climate change, the future of the planet, and the world they’re going to live in. I think there’s a lot of energy for looking at these jobs in renewable energy where they’re really going to be doing something about this problem.”

“In our recent research on new grads, they’re looking for stability in a job. They’re looking for something that isn’t a flash in the pan, a company that they think has a real future. And feeling like you’re solving a real problem is part of that,” says Urban.

She says a key finding for her was the 76% increase in applications from tech majors for energy industry jobs. “That’s a really compelling statistic to me that is heartening. As someone who cares about the environment – looking at all of these smart young people, applying their tech skills to this space and something that’s important – that stood out to me.”

She says, “There’s a need for students who have studied computer science. Cybersecurity is a big one as we have more of a digital grid and there’s risks that come with that. Analytics and kind of optimization science to work on efficiency problems. That’s an area where we’re seeing an increased need from the industry.”

Handshake currently has about 13 million students using the platform.

Increase In Energy Company Outreach

The report also finds that companies in the energy sector increased their outreach to early-career hires by 86% over the past year.

The report notes an increase in “clean energy keywords” in job descriptions – including clean energy, green energy, carbon neutral, and climate change.

Early-career outreach includes oil and gas companies, notes Urban. “With the data that we’re able to pull, we’re definitely seeing a lot more jobs and job descriptions from oil and gas companies that mention things like ‘sustainability, renewable energy, reducing emissions, looking for a carbon-zero future.’”

“That could indicate any number of things. I think what we’re seeing, especially as we look at the increase in applications to those jobs, is that there are a lot of companies that are doing research in these areas.”

Urban says it’s exciting to see companies recruit young people who are just beginning their careers. “[Employers] spoke about the importance of early-career recruiting to their entire workforce strategy. Companies [are] also opening up really good internship programs and recruiting from a really wide range of schools for those programs.”

“It’s exciting to see companies that have that kind of future orientation, not just in terms of their products and their work, but also thinking about ‘How do we really develop the next generation of leaders in our company and harness the enthusiasm that young people have for this space?’”

The report points out findings from McKinsey – that “current estimates suggest the energy transition could create more than half a million new job openings by 2030.”

See the full Handshake report – Industry spotlight: How Gen Z is powering the renewable energy transitionhere.