How is the Talent Gap Holding Back the Energy Transition?

Lysan Drabon, Project Management Institute’s MD for Europe, shares how the talent shortage threatens progress in the energy sector

The UK’s clean energy transition is undoubtedly – and unwantedly — impacted by the after effects of Brexit. Government has approved £227m (US$287.4m) across 95 clean energy projects with the aim of generating power for up to 2m homes. But the country lacks the project management talent needed to bring these plans to fruition.

The latest report by the Project Management Institute (PMI) identifies how a shortage of talent — particularly in green roles — is having a detrimental effect on limiting climate change in the UK. This insight breaks down trends based on geography, with all corners of the globe.

Lysan Drabon, is PMI’s MD for Europe and is responsible for developing and executing regional plans against PMI’s wider global strategy. This sets out to scale the impact of the organisation and the project management profession across the region.

PMI: Global Project Management Job Trends 2024

The PMI Jobs Report for 2024 sheds light on the unique challenges facing the UK's energy sector, typically in light of UK-approved expenditure which aims to generate power for up to two million homes

However, it finds that these efforts may be relatively ineffectual in the face of the lingering impact of Brexit. 

“With UK companies facing more obstacles to tapping into Europe’s deep pool of project management talent, the country’s clean energy transition has increased demand for experienced project professionals to a level not yet met,” Lysan explains.

Lysan Drabon, PMI’s MD for Europe

She says unlike in other European countries, the energy sector in the UK needs strategies that account for the impact of Brexit. There are some lessons to be learned from European neighbours to fill the UK-specific talent gap, but strategies do differ from those applicable in other European countries?

Lysan advises that the shortage of qualified project managers available due to the talent gap that Brexit has created must be addressed.

It is therefore important that employers upskill their existing workforce by investing in training programmes that are tailored to the specific challenges of their sector,” she says. “With our 700,000 member-strong global community of experienced professionals, we have an unparalleled knowledge bank that informs our training programmes, supporting individuals to realise their potential as project managers.”

Project management skills, Lysan believes, are imperative in bolstering the efficiency and success of clean energy projects amid economic conditions that prioritise efficiency, as highlighted in the report.

“Project management skills will be critical to bolstering the efficiency and success of these projects,” she continues. “What’s more, these skills have never been needed more urgently. Another recent PMI report, the Pulse of the Profession 2024, highlighted the fact that one in every 10 projects result in failure. Upskilling workers so they can deliver successful energy projects will therefore not only aid their professional development, but also unlock the UK’s green transition.”

What are the report’s key findings?

PMI's findings from across the globe:
  • In China, clean energy initiatives run on tight scheduling, with EVs a key driver in the acceleration of manufacturing growth
  • Investments in sustainability and technology is propelling growth in Germany
  • Climate action is accelerating demand in France
  • Energy is the primary driver of the economic giant Brazil, the largest force of its kind in Latin America
  • Colombia’s El Niño climate phenomenon could boost the natural gas industry in the region’s third-largest economy. An eight-fold increase in Colombian natural gas production in 2024 is expected as a result
  • Middle East and Africa powerhouses Saudi Arabia and the UAE are projected to see encouraging GDP rate gains, continuing to use energy revenues to fund projects that diversify their economies and drive growth
  • Energy and mobility is set to boost project growth in Canada
  • Sustained economic health could propel the Maldives government to go all in on energy and infrastructure transformation
  • Sub-Saharan Africa is reviving its ageing electric grid and is boosted by the abundant potential for renewables
  • South Africa had secured US$676 million in grants to help it transition to green energy
  • Senegal is becoming an unlikely renewable energy hotspot thanks to its forward-looking policies encouraging a shift in project activity

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