To Move Or Not To Move? Energy Sector Progression Tips

To move or not to move?

“I don’t want to be moving sideways” is something that we hear lot. This is often around the size of role and remuneration package. On one hand it is understandable, changing job is a significant life change, on the other hand, is it a little short sighted?


Different electricity distribution networks have different structures. Some are flat, others have a clear hierarchy and a number of leadership or management positions. There are many arguments that either structure is beneficial for developing your skillset with further career growth. Understanding where you want to head and being in what structure will impact that vision is key. For example, do you want to be a GM at a smaller network or a senior manager at a larger network? Regardless, a role with more responsibility is important as is your ability to make decisions and add tangible value, often something that comes with being in a smaller environment. It is these tangible value adds that will set you apart in interviewing for your long term dream role.


A different environment will give you broader experience also, regardless of level. Think two candidates with 10 years’ experience, both having been in similar roles, one with those 10 years in the same environment, the other with 4 years in one and 6 years in the other. Who is going to bring a larger variety of ideas and has seen a number of different solutions implemented? Despite the same level of ‘experience’ the later will likely be seen as more advantageous, bringing more perspectives to the environment.


Location is a key factor when it comes to the electrical distribution industry. With electrical distribution networks being so location specific in New Zealand, you have the luxury of being able to move to any part of the country. In saying that, if you’re set on a particular location (contractors and consultancies aside) for the majority of locations there is only one employer to choose from. It is therefore important to keep the bigger picture in mind and look at the benefits of the location rather than solely focusing on the size of role or salary. This often makes a sideways move the smart option when looking to return home, get closer to family, enjoy a certain lifestyle or make a shrew property decision.


Professional development is a key factor when looking for a new employer. This may be offered in the form of actively promoting formal training, having an internal training portal or the technical challenges on the network. Topical currently, is asset management, network planning related to the carbon neutral push and implementing new ADMS to better manage the network. Understanding where the network is on its journey related to the above and the technical opportunities that come with that is important. Naturally, different networks will have different offerings that appeal to different people. It is pertinent to keep in mind what appeals to you from an environment rather than just a role.


As you can see, there are a number of factors when it comes to considering a new role and a new employer. Yes, the size of the role and salary are factors but so is the company structure, experiencing multiple environments, location and professional development just to name a few. It is important when considering whether to apply for a role to weigh up all factors and crucially, understand what is most important to you.


Taking that sideways step can be the best career decision one can make. To make an informed decision and to see if the next sideways opportunity that arises is the right one for you, feel free to reach out for a confidential discussion.


Published by Tom Stevens

Managing Consultant – Engineering

03 467 7227


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