In the final instalment of this series, key figures from Vestas, Attentive Energy, RWE Renewables and Atlantic Shores share their real-world insights on salary and compensation in today’s ultra-competitive market.
Final question for the panel. We’re seeing a huge increase in salary benchmarking at the moment – let’s hear your experiences and thoughts around salaries and wages.
Damian Bednarz, Managing Director, Attentive Energy
It’s a job, right? So your time should be compensated correctly within the resources that are available. It’s a highly competitive market, and the cities that we’re mostly working within are expensive, so there are many cost of living issues. There’s salary, but there’s other compensation – you have to be creative about how someone feels compensated. At a very early stage you have to identify what those value systems are for them. You also don’t want to present something that is insulting. So the objective becomes: “how do we get to ‘yes'”. What does “yes” look like?
So we match your values, and make you feel that you are also going to be compensated for the skills that you bring to this position, and it has to be an open dialogue. I always say: “well, just tell me exactly what this candidate wants, and let’s figure out what we can do,” and then we have to work within that framework. But being too rigid is a mistake because your main resource is people. Yes, we have foundations and infrastructure and things that are purchased. But we can’t do any of that without people. So let’s make sure that they’re happy.
Amy McGinty, VP Offshore Construction, Vestas
Everything that Damien said, and I would also add to that: flexibility in location. So, for example, we’re hiring a lot from oil and gas. I did a little poll and about 20% of our current team has come from oil and gas. We can’t compete with oil and gas salaries, and I don’t think it’s appropriate that we do. But we also weren’t asking those individuals to move to Boston, because when you have an individual who has grown up and lived most of their life in the Houston, Texas area, or somewhere in the South, moving to Boston or the Northeast is a completely different environment.
And so it’s very much what Damien was saying: “what’s important to them?” If they want to move, that’s great – but you’d be paying them even more! And that just doesn’t make sense. So I think flexibility and location – and some people are established in their location. That’s what they want and that’s something I feel fortunate we can offer. So we can definitely attract people that way. And then the other is the in–office requirements – always a hot topic in this day and age. But having flexibility there has also been very valuable for us in terms of attracting our team.
Nathalie Jouanneau, JV Strategy & Portfolio Manager, Atlantic Shores
It’s a great example and we have the same issue. We’ve written job descriptions in the past that specified: we want this person in our Brooklyn office, or in our Boston office or in New Jersey. And then you get two CVs. So you have to expand. We’ve really proven through COVID and the post-COVID world that it works. So then it’s about rethinking your ways of working.
How do you make the best tools available for collaboration? At what frequency do you ask people to come to the office – or if they come from elsewhere to your East Coast office, how do you maximize time to get them through workshops? You have to work within this new reality, consider people’s wishes, and work the organization around that.
Claudia Soltys, HR Business Partner, RWE Renewables
So everything that has been said, I want to repeat and emphasize flexibility. We all realize that there’s no other way around it. That is an ask and will continue to be because we have proven that jobs can be done from home. Not all jobs, obviously, but it’s something that we will always continue to have.
Yes, we have definitely seen that people will trade salary for flexibility in their working arrangements.
Read part one, with real-world insight on offshore wind hiring strategies and scaling-up journeys.
Read part two, on retaining talent and nurturing corporate culture.
Read part three, on retaining culture in a new joint venture.
Read part four, on training strategies for new team members transitioning into offshore wind.
Read part five, on attracting the right talent.