From oil and gas to renewables: What you need to know to make the transition

Energy Jobline interviews with Luke Westendarp at renewable energy manpower provider Cathcart Energy, confirming whether the rumours are true about the difficulties surrounding a move to renewables and what oil and gas candidates need to consider before applying...


Many of the skills between the oil and gas and renewables sectors are highly transferable, indicating there is much opportunity for sector mobility within energy. Oil and gas professionals, in particular are showing strong interest to work in the renewables industry, which will of course be heavily influenced by the effects of the downturn.

There is, however, talk of a stigma against oil and gas professionals applying for renewables roles. This is widely attached to the perception that workers will leave the industry once the oil market returns, or become despondent with the lower salaries and differing company culture.

“Some oil and gas professionals think they are being discriminated against, but renewables companies are just nervous.”

“What they’re nervous about is whether these candidates are going to stick around, whether that’s because they don’t fit in culturally or they will eventually grow unhappy with the salaries on offer and go back to an oil and gas job when that market picks up again.”

Unfortunately, the downturn has generated a vicious cycle for oil and gas professionals looking to make the move into other sectors, where there is a lack of available jobs in their own industry, but their intentions are being widely mistrusted in the wider energy sectors.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Westendarp highlights that a move to renewables is far from impossible. Candidates must start with making those all-important adjustments to their applications to be considered by renewables hiring managers.   

“The first thing renewables employers want to know when I put forward an oil and gas professional is, why?”

“Why are they coming into renewables? Having a reason is important to convince them that you’re seeking a permanent move. Whether it’s having a family to provide for, or you’re just genuinely fed up with working offshore, any legitimate reason will help you convince them.”

Something else to consider, is the way you adjust and re-arrange your application documents. This can be difficult for professionals that have very specific, niche skill sets, such as drilling, fluid science and process engineering, for example. These skills are not required in renewables and are not always transferable.

If you work in maintenance or electrical engineering, however, you will find that many of your skills are transferable and your CV may just need a little adjustment.

“I would say as far as the CV itself goes, if you are trying to leave the oil and gas industry, you should remove the oil and gas specifics from your CV.”

“An oil and gas candidate’s CV is a very specific document that includes a tonne of offshore tickets and training certificates. Anything relevant to oil and gas alone needs to be removed.”

“Of course, if you’ve had an entire career in oil and gas, you can’t just leave your whole experience section blank. But you don’t need to spell out the specific rigs, because that means nothing to renewables employers.”

More from Luke Westendarp on making the transition in our next release of this Energy Jobline interview.

Looking for a new role in the renewables industry? Search Cathcart Energy’s latest roles today.

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