What is Sustainability and Connectivity? How is this affecting the renewable energy and engineering industry in Japan?

Launched in October 2021 in Japan, Progressive Recruitment is a global leader specialising in renewable energy and engineering recruitment. When we spoke with Progressive Recruitment's director, Yuji Nozaki, about the company's vision, business model and how recruitment in the energy and engineering industry is evolving, two keywords emerged: "sustainability" and "connectivity".

In this article, Nozaki shares his experience to discuss what sustainability and connectivity are, how these terms will be common within renewable energy and engineering industries in the near future, and what kind of human resources would be needed to aid sustainability and connectivity.


What is Sustainability and Connectivity?

  • Sustainability

Sustainability in the workplace means conducting business activities in a way that maintains a sustainable state from the perspectives of the environment, society, and the economy.

The renewable energy and engineering industry is playing a major role in realising a sustainable future of a decarbonized society, in which many companies are required to make major changes in their business models. In particular, the European Union (EU) has set a specific, legally binding goal to reduce net Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 55% within the next 10 years compared to 1990 levels, which is more than just an effort goal for companies. It is a goal that many companies are now striving to achieve in order to realise a sustainable future for the earth and to build businesses with sustainability.


  • Connectivity

Connectivity refers to the ease with which multiple things work together, such as ease of connection to a network.

Almost all devices, from industrial machinery to household appliances and automobiles, are now controlled by software on PCs or connected to the internet. The question of how to effectively "connect" these devices to maximise results is a critical factor for continued growth, especially in the manufacturing industry.

Nozaki shared, “Sustainability and connectivity are two concepts that are often considered as a challenge for any company, especially within renewable energy, construction, data centres, robotics, automotive, automation and industrial industries. But without considering sustainability and connectivity, we would live in a world where the future is bleak. This is why sustainability and connectivity are increasingly popular and a topic for discussion.”

He added, “In particular, sustainability initiatives are also essential in attracting the best and brightest of the next generation, who are considered to be highly concerned with social issues”.


Why is sustainability and connectivity increasingly important in the renewable energy and engineering industry in Japan?

As Nozaki shared above, sustainability and connectivity are two concepts that have been considered challenges for many companies especially within renewable energy and engineering industries. And this has resulted due to the impact it can have on these industries. Below covers the reasons why sustainability and connectivity are rising in attention:


Reasons sustainability is increasingly important within renewable energy and engineering:

  • Environmental issues such as marine pollution and global warming are becoming more serious.
  • Based on the above, consumer needs are changing from mass production and mass consumption to ethical consumption.
  • Companies that ignore sustainability and operate only from a short-term perspective are less likely to be selected for investment or employment.
  • Companies can therefore expect to increase the value of their brands and expand their businesses through sustainability-conscious management.

The concept of sustainability was first introduced at the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in 1987, and later became widely recognised at the United Nations Special Session on Environment and Development (Earth Summit) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The importance of sustainability was further developed with the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP26) in 2015. In order to achieve the goal of virtually zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as declared at the summit, society as a whole both in Japan and abroad, is shifting to a policy that emphasises sustainability.

If you want to find out more about the decisions and discussions that happened at COP26, you may click here to get a more thorough explanation. It’ll give you an overview of the decisions, outcomes and challenges to expect.


COP26: Decisions, Outcomes and Challenges ahead for ESG

Read the article

Additionally, consumers' needs are also shifting from the original "mass production and mass consumption" to more eco-friendly "ethical consumption”, resulting in products that are conscious of sustainability becoming more likely to be selected. Furthermore, companies that operate only from a short-term perspective are less likely to be chosen for investment or employment. To avoid such risks, companies need to manage their operations with an awareness of sustainability.


Reasons connectivity is increasingly important within renewable energy and engineering:

  • Technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) have made it possible to add value to products and approach consumers from a new perspective.
  • There is a significant impact on business efficiency and the way businesses operate and improve productivity.
  • It is also indispensable for any digital transformation (DX)

There are many examples of how connectivity is increasingly important and used. For example, IoT which is a technology that represents the concept of connectivity, has been rapidly gaining popularity over the past few years, with functions such as remotely controlling objects, knowing the status of objects, detecting objects' movements, and communicating with other objects. This ability to connect to and operate things from a distance is a factor that adds significant value to products in accelerating market competition.

In addition to this, DX is being adopted widely in today's world where business efficiency is becoming more important. Regardless of the cloud service or system being used, strong connectivity enables companies to run smoothly, increase productivity, and accelerate DX whilst improving profits.


What kind of talent is needed to achieve sustainability and connectivity?

In order for companies to respond to evolving changes and continue to grow, they must develop new recruitment strategies as part of their human resource development plan, in line with the shift of their business models.

As a recruitment agency in Japan focused on sustainability and connectivity, we are able to provide thorough support to many companies by introducing the right people to help them meet the challenges of these major changes.

Nozaki defines the human resources needed by companies to achieve sustainability and connectivity as "sustainable human resources" and "connected human resources" respectively.

  • Sustainable human resources: Talent who view global sustainability as part of their own issue and are able to incorporate it into their actual work.

The concept of sustainability is attracting worldwide attention as something that cannot be ignored, and the renewable energy business is one of the industries expected to have a significant impact on the sustainability of the Earth.

Based on this, talent who can take a long-term view of business plans and projects by looking at future possibilities without fear of short-term failure are key to achieving sustainability. They are therefore in increasing demand because of the growing need in sustainability. Specifically, people with advanced business development and project management skills would be in further demand. In addition, people with knowledge of the skills needed in the renewable energy industry will also continue to remain in high demand.


  • Connected human resources: Talent who believe that there are solutions to resolve social issues beyond the "connected" IoT and are able to incorporate these into their actual work.

With the rapid growth of IoT at the forefront, the concept of connectivity has become something that cannot be overlooked. In the workplace, this trend is also true as boundaries between each person's job and task are beginning to fade across all occupations. As a result, people must not only work on their own siloed tasks but must also collaborate effectively with internal departments and external organisations in order to get the job done. In this sense, people with experience in organising many projects within a team, including strong project management skills, will continue to be in high demand as “connected human resources”. In addition to this, personnel with knowledge of IoT-related skills will also be in demand as they understand how connectivity works.


Are you working in a sustainability and connectivity-driven company and are looking to connect with suitable job seekers in Japan?

Progressive Recruitment had many opportunities over the past year to support the growth of many companies especially those within renewable energy, automotive, and robotics as well as the career development of job seekers who are looking for sustainability and connectivity driven companies in Japan.

As such, this has allowed us to further expand our network of candidates with backgrounds in the renewable energy industry (including solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydrogen power generation), as well as the automotive and manufacturing industries, which have strengthened our recruiting know-how and knowledge in these fields. Our team has also grown significantly and are even more equipped to support all types of companies, including Japanese and foreign-affiliated firms, start-ups, and major corporations, in their recruitment efforts. Beyond that, we have an affiliate brand that specialises within IT and technology recruitment that allows us to introduce and tap into engineers that are difficult to source through other recruitment agencies or platforms.  

If you wish to find out more about how we can help, please contact us using the form below and our consultants with extensive experience in recruiting for candidates that can meet the challenges of sustainability and connectivity in businesses would be in touch. Alternatively, if you are looking for your next job in Japan that falls under sustainability or connectivity, please browse our latest job postings by clicking the button below.

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About Yuji Nozaki

Yuji Nozaki is a former SONY employee who spent six months as an intern at a company he founded while in college. He has worked in the human resources industry for more than 10 years recruiting for all industries and job levels in more than 10 countries, while being based in Japan and Singapore. He has extensive experience in providing a consulting service on recruitment and organisational development for Japanese companies expanding overseas as well as foreign companies entering the Japanese market.

In 2021, he joined SThree, a STEM-focused recruiting firm, as Director of the IT-focused Computer Futures enterprise division and also launched a new line of business, Progressive Recruitment. He is currently the Director of both Huxley, specialising in Finance, Accounting and Legal as well as Progressive Recruitment.


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