Where Are All the Energy Jobs?

If I hear one more person tell me how promising the alternative energy industry is going to be, I am going throw them off the top of Boji Tower. Unless you’re a heavily educated engineer and licensed PE, you’re not going to see much of a flourishing job market in renewables for many years to come. Sure, there are some electrical companies that might hire a solar expert for a small number of sales opportunities. Oh yeah, you might be able to score a gig digging trenches for an HVAC contractor who installs geothermal systems, but the bottom line is that alternative energy just doesn’t have the broad range of skill thirst that the energy efficiency industry can utilize.

Energy efficiency is where it’s at baby! A recent study conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that there is a massive demand for well-trained energy efficiency professionals … AND … there is an incredible shortage of candidates to fill the openings!

“There is a shortage of formal training programs in energy efficiency, and an extremely high demand right now, thanks to the infusion of funding for energy efficiency from the growth in ratepayer-funded utility programs and federal and state budgets devoted to efficiency, for example, in programs funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act,” says Charles H. Goldman, a scientist in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of Berkeley Lab.

I know many people looking to break into the energy industry may be saying “where the hell are all these jobs you’re talking about?” Rest easy, job seeker, they are everywhere! They may just be disguised by elusive job titles and vague descriptions. But I promise you, they’re out there. Hey… I have one! And my company has over 20 positions open currently – waiting for someone trained and qualified for the work we do.

My company’s niche is only one of six main categories of energy efficiency job markets.

Manufacturing and Distribution: designing and manufacturing energy efficient equipment, the wholesale distributors of said equipment, vendors who peddle said equipment to end users

Planning and Project Management: program administrators, federal/state/municipal staff who manage programs, implementation contractors (this is me!)

Consulting & Auditing: Design, architecture and engineering firms, implementation contractors (again, me!), energy service companies, commissioning experts

Construction and Installation: Building contractors, electrical/HVAC contractors, community action agencies

Evaluation Monitoring & Verification: Typically the same groups as Planning & Project Management

Operations and Maintenance: Building owners, energy managers, in-house energy engineers, facilities management, maintenance staff

On top of all the jobs that come down the line in each of those categories, all of those companies involved above need financial, marketing, human resources, customer service, sales, information management, tech support, and business development professionals to fill out their portfolio of resources.

And this huge demand for manpower is not going anywhere any time soon. As the utility companies keep raising their rates and our lives become more and more dependent upon our addictions to electric devices, energy efficiency will exceed the status of “new IT career” into a downright crucial necessity just for people to keep their homes and businesses afloat. The demand for energy efficiency professions is estimated to TRIPLE in the next ten years because of the rising costs of electricity and natural gas.

So what does all of this information about the energy efficiency job market really mean? It means no matter what you do for living or what kind of career you’re looking for, you need to know how to link it to energy efficiency. Get off your butt, learn something about how your job (or future job) can fit into this industry, get trained, and go save some damn energy!

P.S. Before the end of the month, I’ll be adding a page to the blog where you can find a list of employers who want energy efficiency people. Keep checking back so you can get in, get ahead, and get hired.


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3 Comments on “Where Are All the Energy Jobs?”

  1. Mark W. Says:

    I agree with what you say here Megan.
    Now all we need is a government and a President that can put together an energy policy for this country. A policy that doesn’t focus on the sexy, alternative energy sources disproportionately. Without a good policy that utilizes our resources with the best ROI (short and long term), the federal government is wasting taxpayer dollars. A little off topic but I didn’t care for the President’s call for action on alternative energy spending in his recent state of the union speech.


  2. Madam Energy Says:

    I couldn’t agree more, Mark. The emphasis on renewable funding is a sore spot for me too. While I understand the value of funding research and pilot programs, there really needs to be more urgency for EE funding in order to exact better way of life. Even with renewable energy, we can’t afford to keep consuming at the levels we do. There’s just not enough real estate available for a wind/solar/geothermal infrastructure large enough to cover our usage needs as they are now… let alone what they will grow to become. We need to be efficient no matter what the future holds for power sources.



  1. Local College Considering Program to Bridge the Energy Education Gap | Don't Hate Me Because I'm Efficient - March 17, 2011

    […] feel very strongly about the need of qualified professionals in the energy management, utility, and energy efficiency […]

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