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Category Archives: HR Advisory

Exploring the Gap Between Skills and the Renewable Energy Industry.

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The renewable energy sector is one of the fastest-growing industries globally. According to the 2017 Global Talent Index, there is an estimated 8.1 million people employed within the renewables space. In South Africa, the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA) had estimated that an additional 109,444 direct, FTE person-years of employment would be created through the REIPPPP Bid Rounds 1- 4. The industry is still expanding and has the capacity to employ many more people but is hindered by the fact that not all required skills are always readily available. Based on our recruitment experience, there are some occupations which have proven to be very difficult to source for, often going for months before finding the appropriate candidate. Conversations with multiple employers in the IPP industry confirm that there is indeed a skills shortage in certain verticals.

There is a general scarcity of experienced technical support skills in South Africa’s PV space, such as Electrical Engineers, Operations and Maintenance Managers, and Mechanical Technicians – the scarcity of skills is amplified as the IPP’s and C&I service providers compete for transferrable skills. While most entry-level engineers graduate from universities equipped with a Bachelor of Engineering (BEng) or a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in either electrical or mechanical engineering, most of them would have little to no exposure to renewables and therefore cannot add any form of substantive value from day one. It then falls on the employer to get them into some type of learnerships or mentoring programmes to facilitate skills transfer needed to equip them with relevant industry skills like Solar PV, Wind, Energy Storage, etc, depending on the industry, and technology.  According to the ILO report titled “Anticipating skill needs for green jobs”, published in 2015, there are two main types of skills shortage, which may exist separately or in combination:

  1. A quantitative skills shortage, under which the number of workers available with broadly suitable skills is insufficient.
  1. A qualitative gap under which the number of people available may be sufficient, but their skills are deficient relative to what is needed.

Based on the above, clearly the latter is true for the renewable energy sector in South Africa. The use of AltGen outsourced services can provide a solution to this deficiency. We provide basic upskilling services and where the sought-after scarce skill cannot easily be found AltGen Recruitment focuses on sourcing the applicable skills from the local districts. Currently, in the Northern Cape, AltGen Employment Services has developed a Renewable Energy Industry Specific Skills Programme, for IPP’s and O&M’s, with the aim of upskilling members in the local community to prepare them for formal employment. Due to the high unemployment rates in the Northern Cape, the goal of AltGen’s Solar Works Programme is to develop training programmes that allow community members to contribute meaningfully to the IPP’s operations and in turn, find long-term employment in the local community or start their own businesses.

Pofadder Community Members In AltGen’s Solar Works Programme Sew Jackets For Employees on the IPP Solar Plants.

The scarcity gets deeper when we go into specialist niche roles like SCADA Automation Engineers, Wind Analysts, Power Studies Engineers, Energy Storage Engineers, Project Developers, and the list goes on. After further probing with employers as to why these skills are scarce, 90% of them responded by saying there is “simply not many of them around.” This scarcity puts employers in a predicament to outsource these skills to expatriates from European countries until this option is no longer cost-effective. Searching for this kind of talent locally takes more than the generic methods of recruitment, including techniques such as word of mouth. The Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) survey reveals that there is cause for concern regarding skills training and knowledge transfer within renewables. In South Africa, Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) is playing a vital role in coordinating and funding skills development initiatives. According to the Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSETA) 2018-2019 report, they have successfully supported 115 firms with mandatory skills development grants.

There have been many instances where employers incur the costs of developing entry-level talent for periods of 12 – 18 months only to lose them to their competition before they reap the returns on such investments. When talent is thin, the immediate reaction by some employers is to throw money at the situation and out-bid their competition. This has an adverse effect of inflating the price of talent and can potentially degenerate into some kind of a price war. What therefore begins as a skills shortage, quickly translates into a retention challenge. Attracting skilled talent is generally a challenge and retaining scarce skills is even harder. Based on the conversations we have had; 70% of employers have developed different strategies to hold on to their treasured skills. This involves taking a genuine interest in their career development, planning advancements, and creating favourable conditions to keep them enthused. Over and above, employers also shared with us that they offer profit-sharing incentives and extended leave as additional incentives to remain loyal to the company.

The renewable energy sector, just like many other sectors in South Africa, is still very much a male-dominated space. In South Africa, it is estimated that the sector employs an estimated 32% women and 68% males. According to the GETI 2021 Report, it is found that globally the renewable energy sector comprises 78% males and 22% females. Within AltGen Recruitment, females constitute 25% of our total placements into the industry, which is a success story as female talent can be difficult to acquire. It is also notable to mention that currently, 44% of AltGen Employment Services upskilling programme consists of women. In our experience, it can prove challenging to source female engineers or technicians. Historically, it was accustomed that women were placed in strong administrative roles, however, times are changing with an increasing amount of woman seen in managerial roles.

Solar Works Programme participants
AltGen Employment Services Staff Compliment Consists of 44% Women.

There is no silver bullet or instant solution to solving the scarcity of skills and lack of gender diversity in the industry. Listed below are some of the steps and initiatives, which if implemented, might potentially help to alleviate the situation: –

  • Gender diversity and transformation in the sector needs to be more deliberate, planned, and more structured to avoid leaving it to chance. Employers should consider deliberately setting targets to attract more female talent of colour into technical roles in the industry, even if it means bringing them in as semi-skilled technicians.
  • Take a genuine interest in the growth and development of your talent to keep them enthused. Implement proper employee retention strategies which extend beyond good salaries which will provide them with a sense of belonging.
  • A closer partnership between the industry and tertiary institutions is required. A deliberate acknowledgement and strengthening of this symbiotic relationship by increasing interactions and collaboration between the two will influence the quality and diversity of graduates which tertiary institutions produce. The 2017 Global Energy Talent Index shows that 45% of employers in the renewable energy sector believe that they can overcome the skills gap through partnering with tertiary institutions.
  • Create deliberate opportunities and platforms for skills transfer by pairing skilled specialists with junior engineers and technicians. This will inspire younger talent to venture into niche spaces of specialization which they never knew existed.

Job Hunting: 3 Ways to Make the Process Seem Less Daunting.


Beginning the career searching process can seem daunting and incredibly time-consuming if you don’t know where or how to leapfrog the process. But despite the challenges that many face on their journey to professional development, we have some good news! For most, the benefits of engaging with an executive search firm may not be glaringly obvious – for one, the right recruitment agency will generally have a much stronger and established relationship with the companies you’re wanting to work with. In fact, in most cases – they are probably already working with them, so why not leverage their networks to help you land your dream job?

From AltGen’s perspective, we can help you learn from others’ mistakes. AltGen is niched in the renewables game in Africa – and has been in the last 10 years… ever heard the saying “It’s about WHO WE KNOW and WHAT YOU KNOW”? Well, it is a real thing. Too often we have candidates approach us asking us to represent them on their career journey but to their detriment, they have already applied to the firm and have not showcased themselves accurately. Sadly, for the candidate, recruitment firms can’t represent a person if they have applied to the company themselves. The best thing you can do for yourself is find an executive search company like AltGen to showcase you in the best light possible in the renewable energy job market or the relevant industry you are wanting to enter.

This leads us onto the next hot point – identifying your next ideal employer. The job search process is more than just looking for employment and/or sending your CV to a recruitment firm. You need to make sure you’re well suited for your upcoming career move (be pragmatic – make your goals achievable). Furthermore, you need to know how to effectively attract a recruiter’s attention – highlighting how well positioned you are to take on the role and hit the ground running, and should they respond, that you are thoroughly prepared for a screening interview.

Here are some aspects to keep in mind when conducting your job search:

  1. Know your career goals. It is very important to map your next career steps and long-term career goal before beginning the search (do yourself the favour, it will save you a lot of time). Ask yourself, which or what type of company do I want to work for (additionally, ask yourself why – is it a technical and/or cultural reason?). Make sure you have a realistic career trajectory planned out and that you isolate your target company… there are thousands of renewable companies out there – focus on quality over quantity.

Next, once you know who you want to work for and why, find the person whose job you want. Conduct a benchmarking exercise (or matrix) to see what someone in your ideal position has in terms of experience, skills, and qualifications in order for you to become aware of what you need to have under your belt, or at least be close to. Use the tools you have at hand, go onto LinkedIn, you will be surprised how much information you can learn from a person!

  1. Plan ahead and consider your timelines. While your recruiter will be handling the job search on your behalf, it is still a good idea for you to create a job alert (using keywords of interest) with the recruitment company so that if new jobs pop up, you will be notified and can chat to your recruiter about your interest in this position. It is vital to ensure the CV you present to your recruiter is up-to-date and formatted correctly (follow us to stay informed through our next post where we will be discussing your CV) It is also important to remember to create milestones for yourself, keeping in mind your current notice period, and if you are currently involved in projects – you don’t want to change jobs at the wrong time and end up jeopardizing your reputation. Planning helps you know when to focus on engaging with recruiters, perhaps give your recruiter a heads up that you will be looking in the next quarter, etc.
  2. Use multiple job-research platforms. Pnet, LinkedIn, and Indeed (amongst others) are great platforms to search for jobs as well as connect with recruiters who are actively looking for talent. For a recruitment company like AltGen, 87% of our monthly applicants come from LinkedIn, which shows that it is a valuable platform to be a part of, not only for jobs, but for live content and info. We also recommend keeping an eye on other job boards for new jobs that are posted (and creating that alert we spoke about!). Last but not least, we would suggest following your preferred brands so that when you see a role you would like to apply for, you can touch base with your recruiter regarding this vacancy.

Since job searching isn’t always a quick process, you need to remind yourself to not get disheartened easily, sometimes the right job for you is only ready for you later on (job hoppers be warned). You need to manage your expectations and realise that there’s a chance you won’t always hear back from every firm you’ve applied to. However, with AltGen representing you on your job search, our recruiters have your best intentions at heart and they will provide you with as much feedback as possible throughout the process. It’s also important that you remember to protect your image – before starting this process, go through your online profiles and make sure that you remove anything that you wouldn’t want a potential employer to discover. Make sure you are contactable, so update your details across your preferred platforms for a recruiter to be able to get ahold of you if need be.

Keep posted for the next installment, where we will discuss what is involved in a cover note and elaborate on the CV writing process. We will provide you with ways to better improve your resume as well as inform you what you should and shouldn’t have in your CV and intro message in order to make the best first impression possible – that is what your CV is all about!

Renewable Energy Recruiter – Job Opportunities – South Africa

Job Description:

Renewable Energy Recruiter

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

AltGen offers recruitment, consulting and employment services with a core focus on recruitment for renewable energy and sustainability-related companies in Africa. Our cleantech recruitment agency is based in Cape Town and our objective is to assist job seekers to develop their careers in our area of expertise.

With an experienced and passionate team with over 100 years of combined experience, AltGen plays an integral role in the South African renewable energy and sustainability industry. We operate throughout the African continent in both anglophone and francophone regions and are rapidly expanding globally. WIth entities in South Africa, Kenya, and Mauritius, we have a direct impact on the continental energy industry.

Our recruitment agency technology focal points for skills include; Solar | Wind | Renewable Energy | Biogas | Biomass | Energy Management | Energy Efficiency | Green Buildings | Green Tech | Photovoltaics | Energy Storage | Battery Systems | Off-grid | Hydro | CSP | CPV | IoT | AI | AgriTech | FinTech.

Our team is rapidly growing and we are looking for a renewables recruiter to join our talent acquisition team. You will be bright and passionate about people, the planet and job creation and will be prepared to partner and grow with us through bringing with you a combination of skills and attributes.

The Role:

As a Renewable Energy Recruiter, your objectives will be to connect companies to the right skills that will enable their growth objectives and in turn drive an ROI for them. Attributes which will make you the perfect fit for this role include:

  • SALES and TARGET (KPI) focused – happy to work under pressure and driven by exceeding your sales targets!!!!!!
  • Relationship driven – it is pivotal that you are a peoples person, an ability to build longlasting and deep relationships with clients and candidates is key.
  • Information repository and researching – you must have an inquisitive mind and a strong analytical and problem-solving nature to deliver on your objectives.
  • Able to connect the dots – an ability to understand the nuances of a client’s needs and the skills that are available to meet these needs.
  • Reporting skills – you will be responsible for collating activity-related statistics that ensure full visibility on the productivity pipeline.
  • Process efficiency – by being in the centre of activity with clear visibility on the pipeline you will be relied upon to ensure that our processes have a few ‘clicks’ as possible by being robust yet extremely efficient.


  • 2+ years in a sales, marketing or engineering-related role
  • A degree in finance, engineering, marketing or commerce degree
  • Must have a passion for clean technologies and driving climate-neutral activities across Africa
  • Strong negotiation skills as well as written (reporting skills)
  • Customer-centric focus

If this sounds like an opportunity you would be interested in, and if you feel you are ready to grow your career as a Renewable Energy Recruiter, then apply via careers@altgen.com.

Want To Make Your Firm A Desirable One To Work For? This Is How You Can Leverage The Recruitment Process…

Recruitment marketing
Consider using the recruitment process to market your brand.

You may have asked yourself: “ How do we position our company to ensure that when we need new top skills to join the team, we have excellent profiles contacting us left, right, and center? ” In essence, how do we make our business a desirable one to work for? Well, the easy answer to this is to establish a fruitful relationship with a skilled recruiter, whose reputation in the market speaks for itself and can help you fulfill your recruitment needs. When the time comes for a growing firm to onboard new talent to join the team, it is important to consider that the recruitment process lends itself to building a sought after brand which will attract great talent down the line, making the need for outsourced recruitment services obsolete in the future.

In this sense, it is pivotal the senior management team, line managers, and HR professionals guiding the process align themselves with the opportunity to leverage the marketing activities of the recruiters who are conducting the top talent skills search for your company. Simply put, this means that you need to properly outline your niche in the industry, determine the culture of your company and what types of individuals would thrive in your organisation as well as consider other factors that may impact the recruitment process. All of this is useful information to the recruiter, which they will utilise during the recruitment process to get the candidates on board.

When one speaks of the recruitment process as a branding opportunity, it means that you will have specialised recruiters who are well networked and connected in the industry which will be used to their advantage in order to conduct verbal engagements with a minimum of 15 prospective professionals through a variety of communication channels. Of those 15 prospective candidates, a maximum of 5 will be shortlisted before CV’s land in your inbox. A great recruitment firm will focus on getting talent on board for the idea of joining a firm prior to interview stages which ensures that your firm does not find itself facing counteroffers. In summary, they will effectively screen the requirements against the skillset you want the profiles to possess, and in the same breathe shed light on why the candidates cannot afford to miss out on the opportunity to work for your firm. This would include discussions on what makes your company better than its competitors, why your company culture is perfect for them, and what they can expect when beginning the recruitment process with your team as well as where a career with your firm may take them. See how those initial conversations with your team are so important?

One of the major factors companies tend to overlook is how their management of the recruitment process creates perceptions of the brand in the candidate’s minds. Be cognisant of how professionals in the industry talk, and if your processes left a bad taste in their mouth, others would likely find out about it too. So how do you manage this? First off, the HR team or hiring managers need to outline how many steps there will be in the process, who will be involved and what the timelines are. Those involved in the hiring processes need to take responsibility for their deliverables in the procedure if they are going to secure the best candidates. One of the biggest disappointments to candidates who have been involved in a recruitment process is not receiving feedback within the stipulated timelines. Simultaneously, companies have often lost exceptional talent they were engaging with because they simply took too long to make an offer, did not outline the next steps in the process, and/or did not keep the lines of communication open with the representative recruiter or candidates in the process.

So the next time you decide to engage with a recruiter to assist you with filling your companies vacancies, clearly define the process with your team as well as provide insight to your recruiter on why your firm is better than others and what it is that makes your team and brand unique in that space. The aim is to develop a name that attracts the right talent whether you are presently seeking new talent or not.


If you have questions during your engagements with our recruiters, please speak up! If you would like to enquire about our Career Coaching services, feel free to drop us an email at careers@altgen.com.

Customising Your Profile To Help Land You A Job: What You Forgot To Mention On Your CV & LinkedIn Profile

Tips from the AltGen recruiters that you should consider including on your professional profile when on the job hunt.

You are a highly skilled renewable energy professional with so much to offer in terms of your experience and expertise but, you tend to ask yourself: “Why are recruiters not reaching out to me?” or “Why does everyone else seem to be getting headhunted but me?”. Well, the answer is simple. There could be a few simple items you may be forgetting to mention on your CV, LinkedIn profile and or job application which could very well change how successful you are in being found or perceived.

We as recruiters have a few tricks up our sleeve when it comes to finding great talent, and if you are out of the loop, you could be out of a new and exciting career opportunity too.

So, we decided to ask our recruiters for some nuggets of insight that they often feel candidates fail to mention when looking for a new opportunity. We suggest that when you are updating your CV or LinkedIn profile that you take into consideration that highlighting these points (where applicable) – could help you get your foot in the door when planning to land your next job!


This is what our team had to say…

Sean Gibson, Managing Director:

“Never say your reason for leaving is “conflict with management”, or similar. Always move on to something bigger and better, never present yourself in a negative light.”

Wiehahn De Jager, Recruitment Consultant:

“Your CV shouldn’t just explain to a recruiter what you do, but also speak to how well you do it. A CV should not define a candidate, but rather distinguish them.”

Robert Veith, Sales Director:

“Explain how you have reacted in difficult situations on power plants. What are your achievements that set you apart (provide at least four bullet points)? But more importantly, highlight how you have rectified issues on site, turned a project around or even saved money for your employers.”

JP Roos, Operations Manager:

“Do not copy and paste content from your job description. Recruiters want the nitty-gritty details of a day in your work-life. Let the passion for what you do shine through and boast about what makes you great at your profession. We want to be able to see the value you can bring and the first selling point for this is your CV or LinkedIn profile.”

Lindy Taylor, Innovation & Business Development Lead:

“Be searchable and consider that the terms you use to describe yourself may not necessarily be the terms recruiters are using. What other synonyms that are relative to your renewable energy technology experience can you use that you could be found for? For example, “rural electrification,” “mini-grids,” “energy storage” and “off-grid”. Mix it up!”

Lisa De Sousa, Recruitment Administrator:

“Show that you are well connected. Whether it be at university or past experiences, you will have met a multitude of different people – show that! Having influential networks shows that you have great communications skills which is always something that an organization looks for.”

Samantha Saunders, Recruitment Consultant:

“Speak more to your achievements rather than your everyday responsibilities. Be sure to highlight successful projects, sales figures where necessary and any company wins that you’ve been involved in! These highlight your value to your potential employer. And remember to make your CV look good – aesthetics do play a big part! Simple, to the point and easy to read.”

Rob Slater, Recruitment Consultant: 

“Honesty is very important when putting your CV together. Take time to think and plan your CV so that it shows off who you are and what you will be able to bring to a prospective team. Don’t be shy to put your best foot forward.”

Phillip Khumalo, Recruitment Consultant

“Do not try too hard to over-sell yourself. Let your profile tell a story about your “talent”, what you are good at and enjoy doing, in essence, that is your contribution to the industry. You get hired for contribution to bottom-line goals, not for presenting the most flamboyant CV, name-dropping, or the use of complicated jargon. There is a lot of power in simplicity, honesty, and genuineness.”


It goes without saying that there are a lot of elements that you can add to your CV or LinkedIn profile to make you stand out, such as listing all the projects you have worked on or even that you have a work visa for a country that you are applying to a job for. So the next time you take the time to update your professional profile, take these points into consideration, and who knows, your phone might soon be ringing off the hook! Think outside the box because there are many people who can do what you do, but not necessarily as well as you do it!


If you have questions during your engagements with our recruiters, please speak up! If you would like to enquire about our Career Coaching services, feel free to drop us an email at careers@altgen.com.