Sustainability Efforts in the Energy and Chemical Industry Help Attract Younger Talent

Posted on October 31 , 2022. 

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​With ever increasing environmental challenges to overcome in Asia Pacific, the region’s Energy and Chemical (E&C) industry increasingly seeks to improve its sustainability and transformation efforts. Yet the fruits of these efforts extend beyond environmental responsibility. Particularly in the area of chemical supply chain/procurement, this renewed focus on green initiatives has begun to attract both Millennial and Gen Z applicants – and for good reason.

Energy and chemicals in Singapore

 Singapore is a leading regional hub for E&C activities, with Jurong Island occupying a special position at the centre. The island’s state-of-the-art infrastructure supports over 100 companies, with a combined net worth of S$50 billion. Singapore is now the 5th largest refinery export hub in the world – and it nevertheless continues to grow, creating enough future employment opportunities that companies must factor the problem of talent shortage into their decision-making.

 Specifically, additional services such as speciality chemicals formulations manufacturing, together with the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies in refineries via the ITM (Energy & Chemicals Industry Transformation Map), and new processes such as carbon services and trade, are opening up additional employment vacancies for experts in these areas. With the additinal benefit of government initiatives like the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme, employment candidates with the right skills will thrive for the foreseeable future.

Chemical sustainability

 The petrochemical industry has long strived to fulfil the needs of the industry by increasing overall capacity. Still, various operational costs and inefficiencies, tied together with the recent pandemic which has brought ever-increasing prices and other economic hurdles, have caused some plants to shut down.

 A lasting solution to these challenges will involve the sustainable development of biochemicals, as well as targeted government initiatives. An example of the latter is a plan by Singapore’s Economic Development Board (EDB) to change Jurong Island into a sustainable energy and chemicals park. Working alongside A*STAR and JTC, the EDB is developing a CCU (Carbon Capture and Utilisation) test facility on Jurong Island, and will support other companies to establish sustainability and decarbonisation solutions in Singapore.

Chemical transformation

 With the E&C industry itself being energy intensive, creative solutions will be needed to improve efficiency. The combination of environmental concerns and dwindling natural resources have necessitated the implementation of technological advancements, buoyed by constant research and development, to overcome the challenges surrounding renewable energy, global resources, and climate change.

 Alongside these industry-specific advancements, new achievements in the field of IT allow for more effective systemic transformations – providing better accuracy, security, and reliability within operational processes. The chemical supply chain/procurement industry has therefore found it greatly beneficial to integrate digital change alongside more specialised industrial processes. In this way, the power of data and automation has enabled improved data sharing and error mitigation, as well as increased efficiency in all areas of operations.

Young professionals prioritise purpose over salary

 As talent shortages loom even for the E&C industry, companies should take into account the cultural mindset of Millennials and Gen Z when shaping their brand identity. These generations are increasingly conscious of, and passionate about, issues surrounding environmental sustainability and social equality.

Companies should learn from these trends, incorporating various environmental and social ideals that Millennials and Gen Z (among others) value highly. Shared worldviews and values can inspire fierce loyalty, to the point where many Millennials are willing to take a pay cut in order to work for companies that mirror their own aspirations. Sustainable ideals, when genuinely held and acted upon, can secure sustainable access to skilled talent moving forward.

 With social and environmental responsibility playing a pivotal role for the future of the E&C industry, hiring millennials with the right skills requires a well-developed strategy. The chemical supply chain/procurement industry is a wild beast to tame, but Connexus has the knowledge, capability and network to help you succeed. Contact us today to get started.

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