Energy & the Future: Predictions from Energy Specialists

Solar energy

The Energy industry isn't going anywhere: in fact, as it adapts to a changing world, it's only growing stronger. What trends in the coming years will we see transform the industry for the better?

The light is slowly beginning to shine on the horizon. While the world strives to reach a post-COVID era, the Energy industry is shifting and adapting like never before — proving its resilience despite, or perhaps because of, COVID — and climate-related setbacks that forced the industry to innovate and come out even stronger.

In fact, the industry is growing: nearly two-thirds of employers (65%) expect their workforce to increase in the next twelve months, which could lead to substantial industry growth overall. Indeed, nearly a quarter (23%) of respondents to our 2021 Energy Outlook Report suggest they will see the number of roles go up by more than 10%. 

As the world continues changing and improving, the Energy industry follows suit. Here, we’ll discuss three of the biggest and most impactful trends to look out for in the post-COVID era of Energy. 

Trend 1: The road towards sustainable energy 

Looking ahead, it’s highly encouraging to see that a healthy majority of workers (58%) feel confident about the future of the industry as it transitions away from conventional Energy sources, but they are under no illusions about the profound impact climate change will have.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) said that severe climate change will affect the future of the industry, with 60% saying that increasing interest in renewables and alternative Energy sources were behind reduced demand for Oil and Gas.


The biggest question in the coming years will be how the growth path to green Energy develops. Governments and international organisations around the world, including the UK, EU, and China, have announced plans to achieve net zero emissions within the next three to four decades. In the US, the new administration is poised to diverge sharply from its predecessor when it comes to Energy policy, which could be highly beneficial for American green Energy.


...All while still needing conventional energy (for now)

While the transition to green energy is massively important and will help the world avoid climate-related natural disasters, conventional energy still proves to be both needed and durable in the meantime, as this transition to green energy will take many decades to fully achieve. 

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), under a sustainable development scenario, future production of oil and natural gas over the next two decades will still be worth around $12tn. Transitioning away from conventional Energy infrastructure will also take a significant amount of time. Therefore, while Renewable Energy is set to rise, there is still plenty of life in the Oil and Gas and Mining sectors for the foreseeable future.

Further, the expertise from conventional Energy specialists will be much needed in the transition to green energy; these transferable skills will be massively valuable for creating and maintaining future technologies in the coming decades.

Trend 2: The future of remuneration 

With skilled candidates in short supply and many workers considering their career options during the pandemic, it’s essential for employers to offer competitive salaries and benefits. In 2020, around two fifths of all workers (41%) reported receiving a raise.

On the other end, 17% of workers have seen their income decrease, up from around 10% in 2019. While the decrease is not surprising given the economic hit of COVID-19, the trend is likely to be short-lived with larger salary rises expected once the impact of the pandemic has subsided. More than half of respondents (52%) said they anticipate salaries will rise again in the next 12 months, highlighting the resiliency of the sector.

Today's candidates want more than money

One of the most important findings from our report is that salary alone just is not enough anymore. Candidates are more conscious of the overall package – including what training is available and how a role is likely to affect their long-term career progression – when deciding on a new opportunity, and many companies need to reassess their offering to see whether it’s genuinely competitive in the current market.

Encouragingly, three fifths of employees (61%) now say they receive benefits on top of their salaries, an uptick from 57% the previous year. Bonuses (53%) and Health Plans (47%) were the two most common benefits received - up sharply from 2019 in both cases - followed by travel assistance (25%), housing (21%), and overtime (20%).

Trend 3: Empowering local talent

The limitations on global mobility due to COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the way that many Energy employers operate, and we don’t yet know when – or even if – we will be returning to the same pre-COVID normality in the industry. With so many companies impacted financially it may become essential for them to reduce travel budgets and the reliance on expats by recruiting, educating, and developing local talent.

— Shelley Lloyd, Global Mobility Specialist at Brunel

With so many businesses already facing skill shortages, it’s essential to reduce reliance on expats by recruiting, educating, and developing local talent in key regions. Therefore, another key trend expected to grow significantly in the coming years is companies investing more in nationalisation & localisation initiatives. 

Indeed, the number of companies with a concrete objective of having over half their workforce be local has doubled (19% up from 10%), indicating that companies which have adopted this approach are seeing benefits and are expanding their ambitions. 

Creating a successful nationalisation/localisation programme requires a lot of detailed planning. Companies need to identify the specific skills shortages they wish to address, as well as how they intend to overcome potential challenges, such as securing visas for expat trainers or necessary tax breaks from local governments. Strategies such as having representatives who understand the local culture and language can make a huge difference in ensuring a smooth rollout of the programme.

Building an efficient local workforce cannot be done overnight or by taking shortcuts. Companies need to immerse themselves in the local culture, build strong networks with governments to enable skilled overseas professionals to assist with knowledge transfer, and partner with educational institutions to ensure a steady flow of talented national graduates that will lead their business for the future.

— Karim Abdellaoui, Regional Manager ME & APAC at

Adapting, innovating and powering the world together 

If the findings of our 2021 Energy Outlook Report point to one thing, it's this: the world is changing, and the Energy industry will grow stronger as it adapts to these changes. For the companies willing to adapt, the opportunities in the coming decade will be endless. While the transition to green energy will require many of the valuable skillsets that engineers in conventional energy already possess, there will also be chances to learn exciting new skills that match the industry's innovation. 

As the world transforms, the industry and its workforce transform with it.  At Brunel, we're excited to see these changes take full form as the industry finds new and innovative ways to power the world together.

Want to learn more about the trends transforming the Energy industry in 2021? Download the report below for free and learn key insights from over 22,000 Energy industry professionals. 

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