Energy Sector Jobs In Italy and France Booming Says HEC Paris Careers Head
Despite the interest from MBA students, many big energy companies are still more interested in recruiting for their non-renewable energy positions
This week we caught up with Tony Somers, Head of HEC's MBA Career Management Centre, to talk about job prospects in the renewable energy sector.
Somers has been responsible for admissions and careers at top schools in the US, the Netherlands and Ireland before joining HEC Paris as head of careers in 2009.
A high proportion – eight per cent – of HEC Paris grads get jobs in the energy sector on graduation, a placement rate that is the envy of other schools.
BusinessBecause asked Somers about job prospects in both renewable and non-renewable energy, and how HEC Paris prepares its grads.
On the potential of the sector:
“The picture is really more of students tending to go into the energy sector as a whole as opposed to just renewables.”
“The renewable energy sector is popular right now because it's the 'trendy' thing to do – like the dotcoms 12 years ago. Students perceive a growth in renewables, but in reality it really is quite a high flux area. The job market will continue to be fragmented to some degree, partly because the larger energy companies are still more interested in filling positions within their non-renewable sections.”
On which countries have jobs in renewable energy:
“Italy and France are strong markets right now. The energy sector in France is particularly powerful. The job market in general in France last year was very, very strong, with about eight per cent of HEC MBA graduates getting jobs in the energy sector, which was up from 2009.”
“More people are working in India and China than before, as salaries are rising and rising in the East. The job market is also growing pretty steadily in Britain, perhaps because the growth comes from finance and business development in London.”
On what employers are looking for:
“We've found that simply having an interest in the renewable sector is no longer enough to get you a job. People should have past experience in the sector, with a preference for an engineering background. Although this is almost never required, my experience is that MBA students have a far greater chance of succeeding if they have it.”
On what HEC offers to MBA students after jobs in renewable energy:
“HEC has a very active relationship with the renewable and non-renewable energy sectors. Students are regularly placed with Gaz de France, Suez or Total Energy Solutions. Schneider Electric is one of our biggest employers.
“MBA graduates tend still to go into more traditional roles (finance, strategy) and these companies will often have joint ventures with smaller companies.”
“Next month a group of our students are going to meet energy companies in London. It's privately organised by the school… we meet over 250 companies a year on what are known as ‘MBA Treks’. We go to a region or country and introduce our MBAs to potential employers. The treks also often have a focus on a geographic area rather than any one sector.”
On how the job market will be affected by Japan:
“There was an interesting Financial Times article on Sunday about how Merkel’s party (The Christian Democratic Union) were losing support to the Green Party. One of the CDU’s leaders said: ‘This election was decided in Japan,’ which could obviously rattle some MBAs thinking about the energy sector.
“I think it's way too early to see how the crisis will affect the market – but, personally, I sincerely doubt it’ll have any real impact. These sorts of trends are much too long term to be affected, as most countries make their energy decisions five years in advance. So people shouldn’t be worried.”
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