An Interview with Managing Director, Jon Beatty

What’s your vision for Williams Munroe Energy?

We really do believe in the power of people and finding the best talent, unlocking Energy’s cross-sector skills, and developing them to provide our clients with the right resources to reduce risk, cost, grow, and raise performance.

My aim is to become the premier global recruitment and staffing company specialising in solving energy transitions problems with the right personae and providing people with characteristics that set them apart from the rest of the crowd. I also take great pride in providing unique career development opportunities for our candidates across our client sectors of:

          * Sustaining traditional O&G needs

          * Transitioning traditional O&G to Renewable and Sustainable Energy systems

          * Accelerating sustainable and renewable energy growth

 

What was your career prior to joining Williams Munroe Energy?

Petro technical by background, I started off in the oil and gas fields of West Africa and worked globally as a field engineer for an energy services company called Schlumberger. We worked together to help our clients safely find, develop, build, produce, sustain and ultimately decommission their assets. We provided services and solutions to the global energy sector for hydrocarbon, geothermal, carbon sequestration and water management. In the latter years, I was Managing Director across several geographies, and I left Schlumberger after 26 years.

Since then, I have been involved in the start-up of several renewable/sustainable energy and digital energy related companies. Most recently I have headed up the business of providing energy services and solutions to the offshore and nearshore renewables, engineering, procurement, construction, and decommissioning sector.

Critical across all of this is the need to have access to the very best skilled talent and technical management out there – and that is what has taken me on my latest adventure with Williams Munroe Energy.

 

What’s your favourite thing about recruiting in the energy sector?

The technology and innovation are always changing – particularly in these days of energy transition. Having spent the last 31 years providing innovative technical solutions and services to the energy sector I particularly love that.

On a human level, it is one of the most culturally diverse industries on the planet. When working and socialising with clients and candidates there will often be a multitude of all different nationalities, ethnicities and genders united together with a common goal.

Also, at the work interface there is not a whole lot of politics. Time is big money in the energy sector - clients and candidates alike just want to be able to empower great people, nurture new talent, do the job safely, as planned, and get it done right first time, every time. Simple as that!

 

How has the energy industry evolved over the last decade and what role do recruiters play in this change?

I think it has come of age. By that I mean that more than 20 years ago as well as fossil fuel field development, we were also heavily involved in developing sustainable solutions for carbon sequestration, underground gas storage, clean hydrogen generation, geothermal energy, and battery storage, as well as pushing the edges of the envelope when it came to digital technology.

The uptake back then for alternative energy systems was slow, it was a hard slog but now we can reap the rewards of those early seeds sewn as the world is now aligned. Governments and civilians alike agree, for the good of the planet, fossil-based energy needs to accelerate reducing its carbon footprint, and the world’s energy mix balance needs to level out with significant development and use of renewable and sustainable energy systems.

The energy sector has the most talented and innovative people working in it – given the right resources and time there is no problem they cannot solve. At Williams Munroe Energy our job is to ensure that as the energy industry transitions it gets the right people at the right time for these game changing projects, we continue to retain great talent and help them transition, and new talent is being attracted to the sector and being put to work.

 

What sort of challenges do energy companies face nowadays and how does Williams Munroe Energy aim to help them?

The biggest challenge is playing their part in the legally binding international treaty to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels (known as The Paris Agreement), whilst remaining economically viable as an enterprise and preserving shareholder value.

With this strict objective, it is acknowledged the well-established traditional fossil-based energy sector will continue to be an important part of the energy mix for the rest of the century. Continuing to provide secure and reliable energy to the world whilst the renewable and sustainable energy sector ramps up en masse is paramount over the coming decades.

At the same time traditional energy needs to minimise their existing carbon footprint and find new technologies and methodologies to produce cleaner fuel and remove carbon from the atmosphere. When it comes to providing shareholder value they need to demonstrate, as an enterprise, that they have a viable business model that will see them through to the next century - many have commenced adding alternative renewable and sustainable energy systems to their portfolio.

On the flipside, as a company developing non-fossil based, renewable and sustainable sourced energy there is massive uptake in demand. They walk a fine line between doing what is right for the planet and yet ensuring the economics of what they do stacks up to being a viable sustainable business proposition for their investors and staff.

Thankfully, as technology, legislation and volume evolve, the cost of clean energy generation is coming down and the renewable sector is now able to compete, in the most mature parts of its sector, against traditional energy and be standalone when it comes to delivering green energy. This will improve further and get more and more competitive over time. To put things into perspective, in 2009 the world consumed 8 exajoules of renewable energy. In 2019, that had nearly quadrupled to 29 exajoules. By 2050 the world is projected to consume a total of 520 exajoules – approximately half of that will need to come from the renewable sector.

To achieve that legally binding international target, fossil-based energy consumption needs to be constrained, and the renewable sector needs produce nine times more green energy than it does today!

At Williams Munroe Energy we understand and have operated on both sides first hand. Our role is clear – help our traditional energy clients with their obligations to securely supply and transition to zero carbon solutions, and help our renewable/sustainable energy clients fulfil the massive expectation and growth they need to achieve in order to deliver for the planet.

It is exciting that both are coming together for the greater good of the planet. It challenges the status quo and generates unprecedented demand for traditional and new skills in the energy sector. At Williams Munroe Energy that is what we do.

 

And what about for energy professionals?

I’ve seen too many colleagues leave the energy business altogether, resulting in a really great depth of knowledge and mentoring being lost. I’ve also seen STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) students veer away from choosing energy as a career due to the volatility of the industry in the past and the desire to be involved in a greener planet.

Energy’s workers need a clearly defined road ahead for ethical career evolution and development if they are to stay in the sector and thrive.

Because Williams Munroe Energy sits at the heart of the energy transition, we have the insight and client relationships to be able to deliver on that. Thankfully, because the energy transition is creating unprecedented demand for their skills, as long as people remain flexible and open, then the future bodes well.

 

What kind of culture do you hope to foster at Williams Munroe Energy?

The energy industry is a pretty straight-talking industry. When you are making decisions you don’t have the luxury to do anything other than make the right decision first time, in time. It means the culture is very much an all hands-on deck, doing your part, watching each other’s back, openly communicating, getting the job done safely and successfully, kind of culture. That is in our DNA at Williams Munroe Energy.

That culture pervades internally and externally. If we know we have a great solution for you we articulate it and pursue it through to conclusion with you swiftly. If there is something we may not be able to help with, we tell you – straight, no games, no messing around – and are prepared to help you find the solution you do need.

And if you are a candidate or a client of ours, we have your back covered to get the best out of the situation. We expect the same back from our candidates and clients. We take our results personally, so feedback and reputation are important to us.

 

Which aspect of being part of Recruitment Entrepreneur’s portfolio do you find most beneficial?

Without a doubt, it is access to a very knowledgeable and experienced shared service team. We get to leverage the group level’s best-in-class resources for finance, legal & compliance, contracts and commercial, HR and marketing. As a result, it makes us, as a business, exceptionally agile and flexible because we are not burdened down holding traditional fixed costs at a single operating company level for those resources.

It means we can invest in more client and candidate facing staff, and are more knowledgeable in our clients’ businesses and technologies. The result is a higher calibre, higher performing offering for our candidates and clients representing real value for money. Another significant benefit is the backing and RE group finance relationships which permit us to be able to operate and pay our temps and contractors working for clients in over 234 countries today.

RE also provides strength in numbers…. by that I mean, if an energy client has a more functional requirement for staff and contractors, (as opposed to technical), or require a different sector’s skillset to address their niche need, I can continue to support them by giving them a solution through me as single point of contact working with any of the 16 other staffing opcos which exist within Recruitment Entrepreneur’s portfolio. These sister companies cover every conceivable need when it comes providing enterprises with skilled workers and management – from providing legal personnel, healthcare professionals, programmers, cyber security consultants, digital integrators all the way through to providing scientists, procurement specialists, and financial professionals. It really is a formidable capability to have at our disposal.

 

If you're a client or candidate in the energy sector, get in touch with the Williams Munroe Energy team today to see how they can help you with your talent requirements or career development.