Managing workforce requirements
A ScottishPower case study

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Page 3: Reasons for workforce planning

Demand for new recruits might be driven by forecast increases in demand for energy or the introduction of new legislation. ScottishPower needs to ensure it has engineers with the skills to deliver its current services to customers. It also needs to have people with the knowledge and skills to work with new technology or in 'green' energy developments. These will provide the services of the future.

Factors affecting the workforce

As well as retirements and resignations, other internal factors impact on the workforce plan. For instance, the company is currently working on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) solutions. This is a new technology that will enable CO2 from power stations to be trapped, turned into a liquid and stored safely in porous rocks under the sea bed. This project requires workers skilled in research, design and testing of this technology.

ScottishPower is also currently facing a number of challenges in its external environment. These affect the availability of the labour force and include:

  • Political factors. There is not enough take-up of STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) at school to support the industry in the future. Between 2010 and 2024 the UK power sector will need around 34,000 new people. Government measures to improve the up-take of STEM subjects at schools and universities will help to address this problem and ensure that ScottishPower and other utility companies will have enough future recruits.
  • Economic factors. Between 2008 and 2010, the UK economy was in recession. This led to a reduction in demand for all products, including energy. Although slow growth in the economy might limit the workforce, the firm still needs to be prepared for economic recovery.
  • Social changes. There is an ageing workforce and a UK-wide technical skills shortage. This means that ScottishPower needs to compete with other energy and utility companies to attract and retain the best talent.

Resourcing strategies and tactics

To respond to these challenges ScottishPower's Resourcing Approach involves four stages:

1. Human Resource planning

  • Creating short, medium and long-term business planning
  • Workforce programmes such as Modern Apprenticeships, Graduate and other Vocational programmes
  • Skills profiling - understanding the skills required to do certain roles now and in the future
  • Succession planning - setting out plans to replace employees who are promoted or retire.

2. Attraction - to acquire the best possible people

  • Raising awareness of the ScottishPower brand
  • Proactively engaging with candidates for jobs
  • Using appropriate and diverse channels (e.g. newspapers, internet) for attracting new recruits
  • Offering competitive pay and other benefits to retain existing staff (e.g. flexible working, pensions, training and development opportunities).

3. Selection to choose the right people

  • Setting out clearly the range of skills and experience required for new job holders
  • Using fair and accurate selection methods. These include application forms, interviews, ability tests and presentations.

4. Recruitment

  • Recruiting the best staff and managers through well organized recruitment literature and recruitment methods
  • All vacancies are posted on ScottishPower's careers website and candidates can apply online at

This approach enables the company to develop and maintain its technical skills and other capabilities at the highest level. It also helps to ensure the best possible service for customers. It supports growth and development within the company to ensure leaders of the future.

ScottishPower | Managing workforce requirements