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Workforce Needs of the California Solar Industry


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An April 19, 2011 webinar hosted by SolarTech, featuring SJSU faculty Meg Virick and Joel West; reported results from the first employer survey of the SJSU Solar Workforce Project

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Workforce Needs of the California Solar Industry

  1. 1. Workforce Needsof the California Solar Industry A webinar from SolarTech<br />April 19, 2011<br />10:00 a.m<br />
  2. 2. Today’s Webinar<br />Logistics<br />Introductions<br />Research Background<br />Survey Results<br />Q&A and Discussion <br />Summary and Next Steps<br />
  3. 3. Housekeeping & Logistics<br />For best audio fidelity we will be in presentation or audience muted mode.<br />We will be monitoring the chat line for:<br />Notifying the moderator of any GoToWebinar Issues <br />Posting any questions for the panel discussion. We’ll select, and pose your questions to the panel at appropriate times.<br /><ul><li>If we do at some point go “open mic,” please place your individual phones on mute.
  4. 4. If you plan to use a phone for the audio, please be sure to TURN OFF your Laptop microphone.
  5. 5. Best to use a “land-line” with headset, NOT built-in laptop microphone. If you hear feedback please immediately check your audio setup.
  6. 6. Follow-up questions can be sent to David McFeely, or 408-529-0508</li></li></ul><li>Introductions<br />
  7. 7. Today’s Speakers<br />Prof. Joel West, San José State<br />Prof. MeghnaVirick, San José State<br />David McFeely, SolarTech<br />
  8. 8. Joel West, Ph.D.<br />Director, SJSU Solar WorkforceProject<br />Professor, College of Business<br />Researcher on strategy and innovation in high-tech industries<br />Ph.D., UC Irvine; S.B., M.I.T.<br /><br />
  9. 9. Research Background<br />
  10. 10. Green Innovation Challenge<br />Funded by the State of California Employment Development Department (EDD)<br />Six public-private partnership grants<br />Funded July 2011-June 2013<br />$19m total<br />One of the six grants: SolarTech Workforce Innovations Collaborative (SWIC)<br />
  11. 11. SolarTech Workforce Innovations Collaborative (SWIC)<br />SolarTech,<br />Program Mgr: David McFeely<br />Project Mgr: Justin Bradley<br /><ul><li>Industry Association
  12. 12. 100+ Members
  13. 13. Representing some of thelargest solar playersworldwide. </li></ul>FHDA (Catherine Ayers):<br /><ul><li>Spearhead Training Dev.
  14. 14. Link with other CCDs</li></ul>Nova (Laura Caccia):<br /><ul><li>Case Management
  15. 15. Placement Coaching</li></li></ul><li>SJSU Solar Workforce Project<br />SJSU College of Business, Engineering<br />Working for SolarTech and SWIC<br />Primary components<br />Survey employers about workforce needs<br />Develop EE/RE curriculum & internships<br />For more info:<br />
  16. 16. Workforce Surveys<br />Goal: scientifically valid sample of California solar employers<br />Use proven HR sampling measures, metrics<br />Multiple waves of samples<br />Different types of companies<br />Different questions<br />
  17. 17. Sampling Process<br />Database of California solar companies<br />Compiled from CSI, other databases<br />Undersamples very small companies<br />HR contact, or general managers<br />Verified California operations<br />Contacted firms to participate in study<br />
  18. 18. MeghnaVirick, Ph.D.<br />Research Director, SJSU Solar Workforce Project<br />Associate Professor, College of Business<br />Expert on technology industry worker employment patterns<br />Ph.D., UT Arlington; M.B.A, T.C.U.<br /><br />
  19. 19. Survey Results<br />Respondent profile<br />General workforce needs<br />Sales workforce needs<br />Challenges<br />
  20. 20. Respondent Profile<br />
  21. 21. Initial Survey<br />Survey of solar installers<br />Selected 52 companies that are installers or vertically integrated including installation<br />Online survey, solicited via email in March 2011<br />Incentive for participation<br />Result: 32 responses (62%)<br />
  22. 22. Value Chain<br />Business area:<br />System design/install: 100%<br />Product manufacturing: 13%<br />Distribution: 13%<br />Equipment manufacturing: 9%<br />Other: 19%<br />
  23. 23. Line of Business<br />Technology<br />Photovoltaic: 100%<br />Water heating: 25%<br />Other (< 10%): concentrated solar power, cooling system, cool roof<br />74% get at least ¾ of their revenue from solar<br />
  24. 24. Company Size<br />
  25. 25. Company Sales Growth: 2009 to 2010<br />
  26. 26. General Workforce Needs<br />
  27. 27. Where is the Industry Going…<br />Actual 2010 growth is mixed:<br />22% companies downsized<br />28% increased in size<br />28% stayed the same<br />22% declined to respond<br />Outlook for 2011 more positive <br />56% predict increasing workforce<br />22% predicting no change<br />3% expecting to downsize <br />19% declined to respond<br />
  28. 28. Growth <br />Staffing Projection, 2011<br />Staffing Trends, 2010<br />
  29. 29. Top Jobs in Solar<br /><ul><li>Each company was asked to indicate the number of openings for their top 3 jobs (i.e. 3 jobs with greatest hiring needs). This number does not include any jobs in sales.</li></ul>Number of New Hires in Top 3 Jobs<br />32 companies expect to have 483 openings in 2011. <br />
  30. 30. Hiring Projections: Top 3 Positions<br />Number of Companies Mentioning Demand<br />162<br />Strongest demand is for Installation Crew <br />– 162 positions across 16 companies<br />R_a4AMUq3bUdfSjqs Default Response Set Anonymous 0 2011-03-01 08:52:01 2011-03-01 09:02:44 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 2003 2 8 4 4 1 Design Consultant 3 5 00 00 00 00 00 00 5 50 2 1 1 1 1 3 3 3 2 2 3 3 2 2 4 2 4 4 1 3 4 3 3 4 5 4 4 2 4 1-2 2-3 2 .0 100.00 1 Varies Self-motivated individuals 1 1 2 2 3 4 4 3 3 3 3 4 3 4 4 3 3 3 4 Steven Sabel 390 Alabama St., Suite A Redlands CA 92373 1 1 2.00 1.00<br />38<br />31<br />84<br />38<br />9<br /> 6<br />107<br />1<br /> 1<br />3<br />Note: Size of bubble represents expected number of position openings<br />
  31. 31. Sales Workforce Needs<br />
  32. 32. Demand within the Sales Function - First Priority Jobs:<br />Mid-level sales (commercial)<br />Mid-level sales (residential)<br />Demand within the Sales Function - Second Priority Jobs:<br />Entry level and Inside sales<br /><ul><li>132 additional job openings are projected in sales functions. </li></ul>Top Jobs in Solar Sales<br />
  33. 33. Hiring in Sales: First Priority Jobs<br />Number of Companies<br />The largest hiring is projected among mid-level sales (commercial) followed by mid-level (residential)<br />28<br />
  34. 34. Hiring in Sales: Second Priority Jobs<br />Number of Companies<br />Trends indicate some increase in hiring entry level sales jobs and inside sales<br />
  35. 35. Knowledge, Skills, and Experience for Sales Jobs<br />
  36. 36. Overall Findings: Residential vs. Commercial<br />Knowledge requirements are different:<br />Most important knowledge for commercial sales: <br />System sizing/cost estimation<br />Most important knowledge for residential sales: <br />Sales/marketing concepts<br />Skill requirements are different:<br />Most important skill for commercial sales:<br />Critical thinking<br />Most important skill for residential sales:<br />Social perceptiveness, active listening, and speaking<br />
  37. 37. Knowledge: Commercial vs. Residential<br />Very Important<br />Not very Important<br />
  38. 38. Skills: Commercial vs. Residential<br />Not very Important<br />Very Important<br />
  39. 39. Knowledge Requirements Mid-Level Sales<br />Numbers indicate mean values on a scale of 1 to 5<br />
  40. 40. Skill Requirements Mid-Level Sales<br />Numbers indicate mean values on a scale of 1 to 5<br />
  41. 41. Knowledge Requirements Senior-Level Sales<br />Numbers indicate mean values on a scale of 1 to 5<br />
  42. 42. Skill Requirements Senior-Level Sales<br />Numbers indicate mean values on a scale of 1 to 5<br />
  43. 43. Education and Certifications<br />A few companies indicated a preference for the following certifications, mostly for mid-and senior level commercial salespersons:<br /> NABCEP certification<br /> LEED<br />
  44. 44. Sales Experience versus Solar Experience<br />RESIDENTIAL - Sales experience is considered more important for residential sales and entry level positions.<br />COMMERCIAL - Experience in the solar industry is a higher priority for hiring senior commercial sales.<br />
  45. 45. Challenges<br />
  46. 46. Hiring Challenges<br />Biggest challenge:<br />Over one-third of companies indicated that finding salespeople with solar experience was their biggest challenge. <br />Respondents indicated that solar sales experience tends to be capped at about 5-7 years, at best.<br />Secondary challenges:<br />Several companies indicated that finding salespeople who were motivated, had a strong work ethic, and good closing skills. <br />Other issues:<br />The following were also mentioned as challenges when hiring salespeople: good persuasion skills, critical thinking, judgment, and decision making. <br />
  47. 47. Job Recruiting Sources<br /><ul><li>For Residential sales jobs, order of importance is:
  48. 48. General employment websites, their own website
  49. 49. For Commercial sales, order of importance is:
  50. 50. Solar websites, Outplacement companies</li></li></ul><li>In-house Training & Education for New Employees<br /><ul><li> 81% of companies indicated that they have in-house training for new employees
  51. 51. External training options included SunPower, Nova, NABCEP, SLI, and Skillpath.</li></li></ul><li>Compensation Patterns:Mid-level Residential versus Commercial<br />Companies favor more contingent salaries for mid-level residential sales: on average their compensation was split on a 40-60 proportion of base pay to incentive pay. <br />(Range was from 0% base pay to 70% base pay)<br />Companies favor less contingent salaries for mid-level commercial salespeople: on average, their compensation was split on a 80-20 proportion of base pay to incentive pay. <br />(Range was from 15% base pay to 95% base pay, but only one company provided a base pay of 15%. All others had at least 50% base pay for mid-level commercial)<br />No clear patterns emerged on actual total compensation.<br />
  52. 52. Future Analysis<br />Written analysis:<br />Full written report: see SWF Year 1 white paper (summer 2011)<br />Potential Samples for Future surveys:<br />Manufacturers: PV and balance of system manufacturing<br />Other renewable energy or energy efficiency segments<br />For more information:<br />Visit SJSU Solar Workforce website:<br />Contact Dr. Meg Virick at<br />
  53. 53. Moderator: David McFeely<br />Director of Grants and Industry Solutions, SolarTech<br />Won grants from EDD, CEC<br />Program manager @ HP, Agilent<br />NABCEP certified<br />BSEE from Cal Poly SLO <br />
  54. 54. Q&A,<br />Discussion<br />
  55. 55. Summary & Next Steps<br />
  56. 56. Acknowledgements <br />This project was sponsored by the State of California Labor & Workforce Development Agency.It does not necessarily represent the views of the agency, its employees or the State of California. <br />
  57. 57. SolarTech would like to follow up with additional in-depth explorations into both this material and other valuable findings in future webinars. Contact David McFeely with your ideas, interests and needs:<br />SolarTech will be sending a survey to gauge your interests and preferences in an ongoing engagement on workforce topics in a webinar format.<br />To best serve you please be sure to respond to the SolarTech survey as soon as possible.<br />