February 17, 2016
Matthew Cohen, Energy & Sustainability Practice Leader was interviewed by Bob Hetherington, Editor with AltEnergyMag.com.
What are the most significant hiring challenges facing organizations in the Energy & Sustainability space?
The most significant challenge facing organizations today is the struggle to attract passive candidates who are not actively looking for new opportunities. To organizations, passive candidates are desirable. They are currently doing their job at peak performance and already exhibit the specific characteristics and skills employers crave. However, even with the improvement of the economy, passive candidates who do not have a compelling reason to change jobs are less likely to be open to new opportunities.
What can organizations in the Energy & Sustainability space do to attract passive candidates who are not actively looking for new positions?
The best way for organizations in the Energy & Sustainability to attract passive candidates is to consistently take a proactive approach. It is important to constantly be aware of talent in the industry and develop a pipeline even when they are not currently available. Those organizations that take a relationship first approach with passive candidates, the smoother transition they have, when and if, a prospective candidate is interested in new opportunities.
What are the most significant attributes that companies in the Energy & Sustainability Industry look for when acquiring new talent?
The most significant attributes that companies in the Energy & Sustainability Industry look for when acquiring new talent is the ability to not only be technically proficient, but have the communication skills necessary to explain or even sell their technical knowledge to their customer base. It is important for companies not only be able to explain what a return on investment will be in a sustainable solution, but how that solution will impact the lives of their employees and community. Those individuals who have those soft skills are in high demand.
Are there geographical areas in the country that are more active than others when it comes to hiring for this industry?
Those areas where peak demand for HVAC is highest are the areas that are the most active. This would include California, the southeast, Florida and Texas. The northeast region also is very active in the sustainability industry given legislation there is promoting high sustainability standards.
What are the most sought after positions in the Energy & Sustainability Industry?
The most sought after positions in the Energy & Sustainability Industry are those that are customer facing but also require technical ability. These would include, sales, project engineering and managers, energy auditors and energy engineers.
Are there any educational qualifications that you would recommend for those seeking employment in the Energy & Sustainability Industry?
For those seeking employment in the Energy & Sustainability Industry, I would recommend the LEED certification as well as the Certified Energy Manager certification (CEM). Both of these on a resume make a candidate within the industry considerably more attractive.
As a professional in the industry, what trends do you see on the horizon?
One of trends that I see on the horizon is an expansion of services by ESCO’s and energy efficiency consulting firms. We are seeing a trend of organizations going beyond the simple ROI on an energy efficiency upgrade. Those who seek sustainability solutions are looking for ways they can transform not only their energy consumption, but how sustainable solutions can impact the lives and productivity of their employees. This would include asset management and the implementation of a training program on how to keep a building sustainable after the initial upgrade is completed.
How are you expanding and why the practice name change to Energy & Sustainability?
We’ve had great success in the energy industry focusing specifically on those companies who either make a traditional energy efficient product such as HVAC, building automation, LED lighting, advanced metering and energy management software. We have since expanded not only to service organizations that implement or consult on energy & sustainability solutions, but also expand to emerging technologies that are vital to the future of sustainability. These would include, energy storage, micro grid technology, cogeneration and advances in renewable technologies.
About Matthew Cohen
Matthew Cohen serves as the Energy & Sustainability Practice Leader for DRI’s growing Energy & Sustainability sector comprised of HVAC, Energy Management Software, Demand Response, Energy Services, Energy Efficiency, Building Automation, AMI & AMR Technologies, Energy Management Hardware and Systems Integration and Renewable Energy Technologies. Matt is expanding his practice area through market research, candidate sourcing, recruiting and new business development.