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The Representation of Women in the Renewable Energy Workplace

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The Representation of Women in the Renewable Energy Workplace

When talking about women in the workplace we often think of diversity. The term diversity has been nuanced over the years in the workplace in human resources capacity and inconsistently. It is important that we review the literature on the term and perhaps focus on a workplace that enforces gender balance. 

Although organisations acknowledge their need to close the gap between male and female employees, the efforts in South Africa seem to not pay off just yet. In the renewable energy sector, female representation consists only of 14% of employees. The representation of women and men in board positions is skewed, and to some extent, it is moving backwards.

Studies have shown the inclusion of women and people of diverse ethnicities and gender identities may:

  • Reduce corporate risk and improve governance
  • Increase innovation
  • Increase return on assets
  •  Improve the use of available talent
  • Improve corporate performance

So, the question is, why does practicing inclusion during the structuring of an organisation, hiring and recruitment processes seem onerous? According to GWNET (Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition), it is due to deep historical roots where external factors such as stakeholders and governments interfere with the market, national and global regulation, and the Western business practice was established during a time where only men worked outside the family. As a society, we’ve come a long way to improve on this but there is still much to be done. It is worth commending the solar PV industry for being in the lead on bringing full-time women employees on board. According to the new IRENA report, the solar PV industry has the highest share of women employees, reaching 40% in 2021 only. Making women more visible in leadership roles not only strengthens your organisation and diversity portfolio, but this creates role models in different social, cultural, ethnic or gender traits and this can inspire women to challenge gendered career paths.

Bringing more women on board is a collective effort that holds advantages economically and socially. The emphasis should be on creating more opportunities for training and coaching and closing the employment and pay gap during the hiring process. These strategies should align with investments in training and scholarships in STEM disciplines.

Advice for women in the industry:

  • Seek out opportunities – entering the market can be difficult, but most renewable energy and sustainability companies/organisations have internship programs. Take on these opportunities to get a head-start in the industry
  • Challenge stereotypes – whilst it is not up to women to challenge those stereotypes, it is necessary. Share your inputs with employers about the value of a workforce that reflects diversity, this brings about different and innovative ideas, talents, and perspectives.
  • Grow your network – whether it is through networking events or mentorships, seeking opportunities and connecting with like-minded women provides an environment to share insights and produce valuable outcomes which ultimately leads to better professional performance and understanding and creating more opportunities throughout your career path.

At AltGen we are proud to say that we continuously focus on growing our database with female candidates of all ethnicity groups to be able to deliver and represent a holistic skillset availability in the market and assist clients with inclusive recruitment practices through our engagements.

Sean Gibson

Managing Director

“AltGen is all about effecting change, through people. With integrity, and passion”. 

Managing Director and Founder of the AltGen’ Group. Sean has played a pivotal role in steering and leading the vision and mission of AltGen, making AltGen the only highly specialist renewable energy recruitment firm operating within the renewable energy and sustainability space in Africa. Sean oversees the success of the entire group of AltGen companies.

Sean holds a Master of Philosophy in Sustainable Development from Stellenbosch University as well as an Honours degree from Rhodes University

Robert Veith

Sales Director

“Without quality and intelligent effort, there is no success and no reward.”

Joining AltGen in 2014, Robert started as a Recruitment Consultant and has since become our Recruitment Director overseeing the Recruitment and Executive Search division. Robert has extensive experience in securing talent for rare skills in the energy engineering market, including skills to the likes of Power System Engineers, SCADA Engineers, Project Developers and Electrical Engineering skills specific to design.

Through Robert’s leadership, each recruitment team is enabled to focus on their specific area of expertise, ensuring all client hiring needs are met. Through Robert’s years of dedication to sourcing and securing top talent in the industry, he has a wealth of insight into the skills market and provides our clients with a competitive advantage in a scarce skills environment enabling them to effectively execute on some of the most challenging renewable energy projects across Africa. Robert is also responsible for growth of the engineering recruitment team.

Robert holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing Management from UNISA as well as a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering from CPUT.

Lindy Taylor

Business Development & Innovation Director

“The success of an organisation is defined by its people.”

As the Innovation & Business Development Manager, Lindy is responsible for the marketing and business development activities of AltGen. Through her big picture vision, Lindy has enabled AltGen to remain responsive in the cleantech space. She is responsible for engagements with new clients.
 
Lindy initially joined AltGen in 2015 and has grown into being an integral member of the senior management team. She ensures a collaborative approach with clients catering to their custom needs. Her focus is on attaining new clients, as well as handling contractual relationships with new and existing stakeholders.
 
Lindy holds a Bachelor’ Degree in Social Sciences from Rhodes University.

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Chris Roetz

Workforce Management Services: General Manager

“My goal is to deliver exceptional operational performance within AltGen – Northern Cape building on people, energy and sustainability”

Chris Roetz oversees AltGen’s Workforce Management division in the Northern Cape. He is responsible for the successful execution of HR advisory and management services for clients’ utility-scale projects in the region. Currently, Roetz mobilises an outsourced staff complement of over 200 employees. He also steers AltGen’s Solar Works programme in conjunction with his Pofadder based team.

Chris has 20 years of professional experience in an HR and outsourced staffing capacity within the energy environment and holds a National Diploma in Human Resource Management from UNISA.

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Muslim Janoowala

Consulting Services: Senior Consultant & Business Development Lead

“My focus is to be able to do impactful work, being in the front lines of the development sector finding solutions to safe and reliable drinking water, power and sanitation”

Muslim Janoowala drives AltGen’s consulting services arm. Muslim has 10+ years of experience in the renewable energy, water and general engineering space in Eastern Africa and has played an instrumental role in the success of AltGen consulting engagement on the AFD Green Mini-grid Programme in Kenya. His expertise caters to M&E activities, project management, impact analysis and assessments of funded water and renewable energy programmes that “enlighten” and uplift communities in rural Africa.

Muslim holds an MSc in Construction Management from Cass Business School and a Bachelor of Engineering in Architectural Environment Engineering from the University of Nottingham.

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Wiehahn de Jager

Senior Consultant & Team Lead

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”

Wiehahn de Jager has specialist recruitment expertise in the finance sector and has worked on various mandates for large international and national clients on both a retained and contingency basis. Wiehahn has gained an in-depth understanding of the professional skills operating within the capital markets, fin-tech, and green finance space, with a keen focus on talented professionals within the African context. He has a strong track record successfully working on a range of skill levels, from Directors to Analysts, with a special focus on professionals from mid-level up to Corporate Executives.

Wiehahn holds a Bachelor in Law from the University of Stellenbosch.

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Robert Slater

Senior Consultant & Team Lead

“I love to serve people and be the steppingstone between them and their dream job.”

Robert Slater is an expert in the talent acquisition of carbon management, environmental and social governance-related professionals across Africa. Robert has successfully closed mandates for clients who are focused on sourcing skills with experience in climate change, clean cooking, sustainability, and agricultural environments.

Slater cares deeply for people and the planet, he has a Life Coach Training certification from New Insights and volunteers at ON A MISSION, an NPO which enables businesses and individuals to invest in carbon offset projects. He holds an Honours Degree in Environmental Management from UNISA.

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Natascha Marais

Consultant

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. I look for people who want to change the world and introduce them to like-minded companies.”

Natascha Marais is highly skilled when it comes to sourcing those “unicorns” for our clients in the OEM, AI and technology, economic development, and legal spaces.

Natascha has proven experience in identifying and onboarding professionals to the likes of business developers, sales, and account managers as well as technical sales or software developer skills.

Marais holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Law from Pearson Institute.

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