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Navigating a Candidate-Driven Market: Inside and Outside the Energy Sector

April 6, 2024

We often describe current market conditions as either being candidate-driven or employer-driven, but what exactly does this mean? In short, when the market is candidate-driven, it means that there are more jobs than qualified workers. These shortages mean that employers have to work harder to secure the best talent if they want to drive their businesses forward.

Employers no longer have their pick of the bunch, and they will be competing with other employers to secure the best talent. This can lead to a wide range of outcomes, including higher salaries, skills shortages and it could even cause employers to take their search to an international level.

In this guide, we’re looking at what it means for the energy sector when the market is candidate-driven. We’ll explore the benefits for both employers and candidates, so everyone can experience the positive side effects of this unique market condition.

Is the energy sector candidate driven?

The energy sector is a niche sector that requires specialist skills and training from its candidates. If there aren’t enough qualified workers coming through the employment pipeline from university or specialist training routes, then the sector will quickly become candidate-driven.

Unlike some sectors that can re-skill and upskill existing workers to face off a skills shortage, the energy sector cannot always fall back on this method. A skills shortage in the energy sector can lead wages to skyrocket as employers look to attract the skills they need, even if that means offering more money than their competitors.

These higher wages will often lead to a spike in interest in these career paths, so a candidate-driven market paves the way for a new influx of skilled workers to enter the sector. But it can take some time for these workers to reach the point where they are looking for employment.

How does a candidate-driven market benefit workers?

When the market is candidate-driven, workers have all of the power. If an individual knows that they have skills that are in demand, they can commonly negotiate a higher salary with their existing employer, or look elsewhere to increase their earning potential.

Obviously, this assumes that salary is the only thing candidates are looking for. Others will want to know that their employer takes things like their mental wellbeing and work/life balance seriously. For this reason, some candidates will negotiate things like flexible working hours or increase holiday allowance to make the role worthwhile.

How does a candidate-driven market benefit employers?

It might seem like everything works in the favour of the candidate, but there are distinct benefits for the employer, too. When the market is candidate-driven, even workers who are in full-time employment are likely to be curious about hearing about opportunities. 

This effectively widens the recruitment pool to include everyone, not just job seekers. It could be an ideal opportunity to poach workers from competitors by offering a more attractive deal.

It’s also a great opportunity to find out what candidates want. Employee recruitment is only as effective as your employee retention strategies. When candidates feel empowered to speak up, they are more likely to share what matters to them and what perks and benefits would entice them to stick around.

A candidate-driven market is also an opportunity to identify skills gaps within your workforce and identify candidates that would be interested in additional training to close these skills gaps. Ongoing training is commonly cited as a popular perk that helps to keep candidates engaged in their role.

How can the energy sector respond to a candidate-driven market?

The energy sector is commonly seen as a candidate driven sector simply because of the niche skills required. The fast-moving sector often struggles to keep up with demand as it can be difficult to anticipate where the sector will place focus next.

To respond to this unique situation, energy companies need to focus on employee retention as much as employee recruitment. Keeping existing workers happy and ensuring they are offered a competitive salary, excellent working conditions and opportunities for growth will be essential for ensuring an effective employment strategy.

It’s also vital to invest in training and development for the next generation of workers. Predicting where you will be in 4-5 years time will enable you to ensure you are driving interest in specific degree programmes that will close the skills gap. Close relationships with universities will help to develop the talent pipeline that will make your organisation the obvious choice for graduates.

It’s also vital to keep checking in with employers and getting their feedback on what they really want. This will help to ensure employees enjoy good job satisfaction that minimises the risk that they could be easily poached by competitors. This will help organisations within the energy sector to rise to changing demands.

Nolan Recruitment is a Specialist Engineering Recruitment Agency. One of the UK's best Engineering & Technical Recruiter

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