Written by: Jana Giles
Diversity is not just about inclusion. Or equality. And it is certainly not just a KPI that needs to be
Have you ever thought that, maybe, it could also be a benefit to the energy sector?
A recent interview with professionals in the renewable energy sector highlights the importance of diversity in the industry. Maja Falvo, Aleks Modelewska, Zahra Gallehdari, and Roya Rahnejat were interviewed by Mediaplanet and present unique ideas about a diverse workforce.
Young Canadians in Renewable Energy
Job searching can be a huge challenge. Especially as a new grad. Where to start? How do I even know what I’m interested in? Who can help me? These women have been there too. And now, with experience in their fields, they shared their best tips for young Canadians hoping to pursue a career in the renewable energy industry.
- Involvement with a volunteer organizations such as WiRE (or, shameless plug, AEE and
CWEEL) can help young Canadains explore the potential opportunities within the
renewable energy industry
- Scientists and engineers are important to this field, but they are not the only
stakeholders needed to help make a difference – all backgrounds are welcome and
required to support a global transition to renewable energy
- Learn about different renewable energy technologies and don’t shy away from diverse
opportunities in the field in the early stages of your career
- Attend events to meet mentors and potential employers to leverage opportunities in the
Benefits of Diversity
In the past, there has been a focus on promoting diversity as “the right thing to do” or something that is primarily on the minority group’s agenda, rather than everyone’s agenda. In my experience, this tactic makes it hard for the importance of diversity to be clearly communicated in the workforce. Instead, these women discussed how diversity goes beyond creating a happy, rainbow and sunshines work environment where everyone feels welcome. It can be better for business, too.
- The different perspectives, life experiences, and ways of thinking that a diverse
workforce brings can increase innovation, critical to an evolving industry like renewable
- Companies that attract and respect a diverse workforce have higher employee retention
and job satisfaction
- When employees feel like they belong, they generate more and better ideas
WiRE aims to increase the presence of women and other under-represented groups in the renewable energy industry and broader energy sector. This includes increased recognition and diversified roles for these groups of people. This is a great mission, although maybe I’m a little biased as a new grad conducting a job search in this industry. But how are they achieving this monumental mission?
- WiRE organizes events (workshops, webinars, meetups, field trips, award recognition
programs) to increase engagement on topics relating to diversity and inclusion and
increasing the presence of women in renewable energy
- WiRE has spread their impact globally by implementing chapters in various regions
- WiRE doesn’t just produce their own events, but also partner with government and other
energy associations to tailor the events to the needs of each region, with sessions led by
- WiRE has identified mentoring as a key engagement tool, connecting young
professionals with leaders to help them gain skills, advance their careers, and open
another safe space for discussion
Changes in Renewable Energy
I just found out that Google is releasing the seventh generation of their popular Pixel phone. Since I’m currently still rocking the third generation, you might say that I don’t exactly have my finger on the pulse of new technological developments. But these women do. At least, in terms of the energy sector, maybe they’re with me on the phone thing.
- Net zero, net zero, net zero – it’s expected that clean energy generation and better
energy storage are industries that will continue to grow as government and private sector
organizations aim to achieve net zero emissions
- Legislation that will promote clean energy generation and electrification are expected to
increase technological advancements and job opportunities in these fields
- Stay on the lookout for talk about ESG investing, energy efficiency, and renewable
Jana Giles is a recent Chemical Engineering graduate of the University of New Brunswick (UNB). She grew up in Moncton, NB but has lived and travelled in 3 continents. She most recently completed a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia, USA. Her love for the outdoors translates to a passion for work in the sustainable energy industry, including involvement with CWEEL and AEE Canada East.