Careers in Energy Week: Top 7 Reasons to Work in the Energy Industry

Oct 15, 2019

I’ve been with Nexant for almost 6 years, which is the longest I’ve worked for any one company. There are good reasons for that, like working with people who really love what they do, the many services we provide, and the global scale of energy. I’m still learning and it’s been very interesting to watch how things in the energy industry are constantly changing, like distributed energy resources and energy efficiency (to name a few). This week is Careers in Energy Week---a week to celebrate and raise awareness of energy careers and their importance to our communities, state, nation, and planet. I’m proud to have a career in the energy industry and I’m happy to share why.

 

Top 7 Reasons to Work in the Energy Industry

 

Everyone Uses Energy!

You’re working in an industry that touches many, many people. Everyone values access to electricity and everyone groans when there is an outage. We’re all connected and affected by the infrastructure of the grid. Our economy, workforce, and culture relies on having a steady stream of energy and in this industry, you’re automatically a part of something big. As a bonus, you can use your inside knowledge to help family and friends better understand their utility bill, power supplier options, and how to use energy efficiently.

There’s So Much to Learn and the People are Fantastic

The history of the electric grid is pretty fascinating (see Gretchen Bakke’s book The Grid) and there is always something new to learn. I work with experts, engineers, and other energy professionals daily, and though I am not at the same level of expertise, they have never made me feel lesser for what I didn’t know and are happy to help me so that I can expand my knowledge. An industry with so much change and complexity can be really challenging, but I think this makes us even stronger. As Franklin D Roosevelt said, “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.”

It’s in the News Constantly

The energy industry affects climate change and vice versa, so those who are working to help prevent or manage outages due to extreme weather events and those working to lower carbon emissions are contributing in a big way. Whether you’re working in Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, or at the Department of Energy, there are a multitude of ways to make a difference with your work. 

It’s Always Changing and There are So Many Opportunities to Innovate

Just a few years ago people were scratching their heads as to how to get more solar and wind energy on the Grid. Now there are a multitude of solutions, for example new software, that help make it possible to have transient energy sources on an otherwise constant grid. Technology keeps improving across so many devices and uses: smart thermostats, smart power strips, AI and machine learning applications, software, energy storage, and advanced analytics. The future may hold a few game-changers like block chain, battery advances, smart cities, and smart grids. In the past, I worked in an industry that was clearly on a decline (publishing), so I can tell you it is much more exciting to be on the cusp (arguably we’re already beyond that!) of great things.   

The Workforce is Shifting in a Big Way

As the Baby Boomer generation starts to retire, the industry is seeing an influx of younger employees (Millennials and Generation Z) that are eager to contribute to our energy future. Utilities have also made a big push to include diverse (women or minority-owned) businesses, including small disadvantaged businesses, in their contracted work. Companies are paying attention to their hiring practices and adjusting tactics for recruiting diverse employees as well. (See Nexant’s Diversity page). The diversity and inclusion movement has brought new perspectives and strategies to the table, for example, enabling our energy program services to better reach new communities and achieve more energy savings. I recently attended Shades of Green Forum, an event where energy industry professionals present solutions and tactics to promote inclusion, diversity, and equity in energy.

The Industry is Growing

Talk about all the different career opportunities! According to the 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report, the Traditional Energy and Energy Efficiency sectors in 2018 employed approximately 6.7 million Americans out of a workforce of approximately 147 million. Employment in these sectors increased in 2018 by 2.3% from the previous year, adding 151,700 net new jobs, nearly 7% of all new jobs nationwide. From research companies, program implementers, utilities, oil & gas, public service commissions, renewables, trades, etc. job growth is on the rise. In fact, we're seeking talented professionals for career opportunities at over 20 locations worldwide, 13 within the United States. Join our team and help us drive a more productive and sustainable energy future. To apply or learn more about our various opportunities, visit our careers page. You can also check out the Center for Energy Workforce Development, a non-profit group that is helping develop solutions for the workforce shortage expected in the industry.

#EnergyTwitter

That’s right, the industry has carved out its own section of Twitter! We can ask a question and get an answer from the plethora of people that follow this hashtag or take part in the conversations of the day. (For example, one thread listed next steps for PG&E after their planned outage in October 2019 didn’t go so well). Geek out on graphs and reports, or just catch the latest hot topic. Bonus: there is a lot less trolling than regular Twitter, and differing opinions are more about data and less about rhetoric. Follow me @Katy_McEnergy and Nexant @Reimagine_Tmrw and check out these hashtags for more info on Careers in Energy Week: #careersinenergyweek #getintoenergy.