The recent changes in the energy market have had a widespread impact on the UK – the economy of energy production, subsidies and life cycle costs have seen rapid shifts. Whilst these changes impact various member of society, the one in focus here is in-house counsel.
The disruption to global energy markets and increasing costs of crude oil has seen policy makers prioritise polices that promote improvement for energy efficiency and accelerate the change to low-carbon energy sources. But what does this mean for in-housel energy counsels?
At current, it appears that energy companies will see no decrease in the surging work that occurred in 2022, with the International Energy Agency reporting that renewables are set to overtake coal as the largest source if electricity generation by 2025. In terms of hiring and workload, the effects of increasing activity in hydrocarbon and alternative energy projects has shown a tangible increase in legal work throughout the sector with companies looking to external counsel and firms such as Gowling WLG, Pinsent Masons and Addleshaw Goddard to support with the increasing workload.
As we have seen immense growth within the sector both from start-ups and established multinationals who are shifting their focus and investment into renewables, it is likely that this growth will increase and, as such, so will the need for inhouse counsel. Lawyers experienced in Mergers and Acquisitions, Project Financing, Construction, Commercial / Energy are likely to increase in demand and with the sector showing high growth and faced paced work, the development opportunities for lawyers will be exciting and abundant. Examples of such development opportunities include Counsels being promoted into positions with broader international responsibilities, taking the initiative on significant projects, and having opportunities to assume managerial responsibilities and build out their own teams.
What does this increase in work and focus from within the energy industry mean for hiring and retention? Whilst one would hope that there would be an increasing pool of candidates to match the growth in the sector, this will not alleviate the likely struggle between competitors for candidates. A range of lawyers will be sought – from NQs to those at the more senior end. For newly qualified lawyers, progression opportunities will be an important consideration for candidates starting their in-house careers. For more senior lawyers, managerial responsibilities are often a part of a role they are looking for.
The boom back to the market has given insight into how there can be a struggle for talent when the market is growing exponentially. For companies looking to expand and grow as the market is healthy, the best way to approach is to get ahead of the hiring curb, by having a dedicated relationship with employment consultants that have a diversified list of candidates coupled with a steady and robust hiring policy throughout the year anticipating these booms and subsequent competition, not reacting to them.