The Inflation Reduction Act Explained: A Green Skills Revolution

In a recent interview, Catherine Neville, Commercial Director joined Andra Patey, Client Partner at Armstrong Craven, to discuss the significance of the Inflation Reduction Act and how it's impacting the talent industry.

In this session, we delve into how the competition for talent is intensifying in light of the green skills revolution and how businesses can prepare for this war for talent. 

Listen to the podcast: 

What is the Inflation Reduction Act?

Andra: The Inflation Reduction Act is a US federal law, which aims to lower inflation by reducing the federal deficit, lowering prescription drug prices, and investing in domestic energy. The Act, which includes a 370  billion investment and 300 billion in deficit reduction, aims to lower energy costs, accelerate private investments in clean energy solutions, and create new economic opportunities for workers. Big companies will face higher tax prices due to the act, but they can take advantage of tax breaks related to clean energy to boost energy reduction production, reduce health care costs, and reduce deficits. The Inflation Reduction Act incorporates prevailing wages and registered apprenticeships to create a skilled labor pipeline, diversify the workforce, and create access to jobs. It also contains Important provisions to ensure a larger, more diverse pool of skilled labor and and then employees have skills necessary to meet clean energy goals. 

How is the Inflation Reduction Act Effecting the Talent Industry, Specifically to Clean Tech Skills?

Cath: I think clean tech skills, or green energy as I like to call it, covers a wide spectrum, including technical knowledge, expertise and abilities that enable effective use of green technology and processes in professional settings. I think as businesses innovate to create clean energy and sustainable processes, there's going to be the creation of new technologies that will require new skills. We currently don't know the visibility of what these technologies are, and what the skills are going to be. We don't necessarily understand what they are, and we don't have, you know, we may never have even heard of them. Green skills across the US. at the moment certainly aren't growing as fast as green jobs, and this is impacting every single state.

It means that in an already tight labor market identifying, attracting and retaining talent, possessing those niche scare skills is going to continue to be extremely difficult. With that, we need to really work with and help HR and talent acquisition, find new strategies for attracting and identifying this talent. 

What is the Impact of the Act on Clients in the US and How they are Handling It?

Andra: What we're mostly hearing from clients is that the identification of individuals with a desire to create skills is a huge challenge. Green jobs are outpacing the availability of green skills talent by two to one. So companies are having to get creative to find talent and to take advantage of the billions of dollars in investments, and this includes upskilling existing talent, but also partnering with universities, colleges, and trade schools to help close that skills gap. The training takes time, and the demand is now.


How can Organizations Locate and Efficiently Utilize the Best Talent?

Cath: Here at Armstrong Craven, we support our clients by providing them with access to the best talent via our wide range of services. We help to navigate talent strategies with our research led talent solutions and insights. We help them to identify where specific skills are. In relation, whether it be with competitor organizations, whether it be in different sectors, and we help them with how to access those skills, we provide them with Insights as to alternative global locations, where there is a wealth of talent and great early careers that they may not well be aware of. Our solutions really help answer many of the questions pertaining to the where and the how. 

What is an Example of a Successful Project Led by Armstrong Craven Related to Finding Hard-to-reach Talent?

Cath: I've been working within this sector for the last seven years and I can give you a couple of examples that spring to mind that are recent projects. As I mentioned, we specialize in finding that hard to reach talent and our clients continue to come back to us because of our research based approach. 

Recently, a major oil and gas client commissioned multiple projects with Armstrong Craven as they were investing in their renewables and biofuels business, and they were looking to hire skills that they'd never hired before. They were looking for us to support them with the identification of fungal geneticists, enzymologists and agronomists. These are skills that they'd never previously hired. They had no idea really where to go, or they thought that they may know some areas, but they needed to test the net wider. So, Armstrong Craven created a project that would analyze the profiles of individuals where these skills were, identify organizations where these skills could be found, build out teams of these, with these skills in. Then what we did was we created Talent Maps that we were then able to pass over to our clients. These maps listed the names of those individuals with additional skills in terms of years of experience, qualifications, and other information that we were able to find from within the public domain. Our client was then able to engage with that talent and that then helped them to execute their strategy in building out these particular areas. Not all of the projects that we work on and not all of our clients want to make a placement. Often people want to understand clients and want to understand the talent landscape a little bit more. 

A client recently came to us who were looking to move into new geographies. Again, they were an energy client within a renewable space. They wanted to understand compensation and remuneration for some very senior level roles because they'd not been in these geographies previously and they didn't have the access to the capability to do the research themselves. So Armstrong Craven's Insight and Talent Analytics team designed a project that combined desk research with primary insights to help identity. What we did was we helped to identify relevant individuals holding those roles, within the country that we would need to engage with to answer some of the questions that our client needed to answer that our client was asking. We undertook a huge amount of desk research, not only to identify those individuals that we needed to speak to, but also to look at published data around compensation, remuneration, and any other salient points that we could find that would help to bolster the primary insights that we were going to gather. What we did was we then identified, then engaged with the talent that we'd identified and had conversations and asked several questions about compensation. But it wasn't just that, we also wanted to dig a little bit deeper to understand job-seeking habits, motivations, and perceptions of our client as an employer of choice, potentially in the region. This was really to help them with their go to market strategy as and when they landed in the country. A by-product of this, not only was it a very strategic project for our clients and answered some of the questions, but also a byproduct was that some of the people that we had mapped expressed an interest in speaking to our client if and when they landed in the country.

They had some warm talent that they could speak to and engage with as and when they moved into the location. I think it just shows that we can help to sort of stock the cupboard and identify rare talent, but we can also really help to inform strategy. It's the benefit of Armstrong Craven and our diverse service selection. 

How can Organizations Adapt to the Changing Landscape Influenced by the Act to Stay Competitive and Future-Proofed?

Andra: The first step for an organization is to get a good glimpse of how it's going to impact the business first and foremost, is the talent you need for this in house? Are they trainable? What does that road map even look like? Or do you need to tap into an external marketplace? Are you open to looking at out-of-sector talent or entry-level talent? Anything that is equipped to internally tackle these different and difficult green skills and the seismic change that's on the horizon? Or do you partner with a firm that specializes in research-driven talent solutions?

Whatever it may be, the Inflation Reduction Act is in motion and the impact of supply and demand for green talent is real. Be proactive, make a plan and get really creative and get ahead of the game.

Don’t let talent gaps slow your progress. Contact us today to explore how we can partner with you to drive your success in the clean energy and sustainability era.