Switching to Renewable Energy – Part III

I am still looking for that elusive full-time gig in the renewable energy industry. I have been at it for last 7-weeks since we got back from India. Things are looking up – but it has been far from easy. In this post I wanted to share a couple of observations about the job market in cleantech for bizdev (post MBA, non-technical aspirants).

Demand and Supply of Job Seekers
Doing a general search for solar/renewable/cleantech jobs would get many open positions throughout the country. These are not as many as software (the industry I compared with) – but again the sector is not that big yet. So for the infancy of the sector – there seem to be decent number of jobs. It could be better more into 2010. The companies are just coming out of their stringent 2009 financial conditions and seem very cautious about hiring.

It seems there is an increased supply of candidates who want to enter the sector. There are many very qualified people who are either genuinely interested, interested due to bleak prospects in other industries or are unemployed. In the last few months, I have spoken to numerous friends/acquaintances, who are unexpectedly interested in the sector. For the companies looking for candidates – there is a huge pool of candidates for any bizdev position. So the competition is quite fierce – and you also have to compete with free (people willing to do unpaid project work). It also means that it’s taking longer to hear back from them and to complete the interview process.

I shared some ideas on this earlier in this blog post. Fit is a big deal one for anyone making the switch. Here is a more specific example. If you are wanting to work for a solar installation or a renewable energy project development company (quantitatively there are seem more companies in the deployment area) – the skills that are needed are construction management, financial analysis and sales. Only for larger, more established companies are marketing, channel development, product or process improvement skills needed. That’s a pretty narrow scope of skills really.

Location, Location, Location
I have been looking in and around Bay Area. It might help to be geographically flexible. But there are only few hot spots for renewable energy activity in US – Bay Area certainly is the leader. So if you are not located in the vicinity – make a couple of trips to increase your network. Knowing companies in the Bay Area would be more bang-for-buck eventually for making the shift.


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