Transitioning Your Career from Oil & Gas to Renewable Energy

In 2020, the oil and gas industry experienced an unprecedented shock. Amidst a global pandemic, we saw the demand for diesel, gasoline, and jet fuel plummet to record lows. Oil companies across the United States have shut down wells, declared bankruptcy, laid off thousands of workers, or have merged with other companies to stay afloat. In October, CNN reported that 107,000 oil and gas jobs were lost and unlikely to come back. So where does this leave these workers who’ve built their careers within this industry?

Renewable energy will have the highest job growth

Although the renewable energy industry has also been impacted by the pandemic, it’s fared better than oil and gas and is expected to recover in 2021. And with a new presidential administration taking office, renewable energy is shaping up to be the energy sector with the highest job growth.

Our team recently analyzed industry leading data to uncover which states have the most job opportunities across wind and solar, and where that future job growth might be. However, with such exponential growth comes manpower challenges.

Renewable energy companies cite the lack of experienced field technicians and experienced engineers in areas like performance engineering as a massive roadblock to meeting growth targets. As Michal Eyman, Managing Director of Origis Energy points out, “Growth is great; keeping up with growth is hard.” For oil & gas professionals, the good news is that you likely possess these in-demand skills and many others that can help you transition to a career in renewable energy.

Transferable skills for a career in renewable energy

Oil & gas professionals that have worked in project management, engineering, construction, finance, or operations are most likely to have the skills needed to work in solar energy or wind energy.

For example, “If you’re an asset manager managing a natural gas plant, that’s very similar to being an asset manager managing a wind farm or a solar plant” says Justin Johnson, CEO of Arevon Energy. He adds, “If you’re a project manager overseeing the construction of a plant, that’s very similar.”

If you’re serious about transitioning to a career in renewables, seek out opportunities to improve your transferable skills or gain new ones. The Association of Energy Engineers offers over 20 different certifications that can be valuable to you in your career, including the Renewable Energy Professional certification and the Certified Energy Manager certification.

How to begin my renewable energy job search

Before starting your renewable energy job search, consider which area of the industry you are most interested in. The renewable energy industry is comprised of different clean energy sources, including solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and bioenergy. Research roles in each and compare them to your work experience.

Download our free renewable energy career guide to learn more about the jobs available in your state and the skills and education requirements.

You’ll also want to update your resume. When listing your work experience and job duties and responsibilities, we recommend emphasizing and detailing the parts of your job that are transferable. Instead of listing specifics that would only be relevant to an oil company, focus on your project management skills, if you were involved in planning, purchasing, and HSE.

Lastly, get in touch with one of our renewable energy consultants by completing the form below. Our team has helped oil and gas talent transition and are ready to find the renewable energy job that’s right for you.

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