A recent Hard Hat Hub study of construction and engineering professionals in the power (transmission and distribution) industry found that companies will ramp up hiring in 2014, but many are having trouble finding talent and filling open positions.
Nearly 70% of the companies reported experiencing growth in the parts of their businesses that relate to the transmission and distribution of power. The remaining 30% said that their firms, while not hiring today, “may be” before year’s end. Ninety percent of respondents reported that 2014 will be a stronger year for hiring than in previous years. And not a single person replied that their firm would not be hiring at all.
“With economic fundamentals improving, and the overall energy landscape evolving, our clients are busy upgrading and maintaining their infrastructure, which means we’re looking for project managers, drilling managers with power experience across the nation,” said Guy Niedorkorn, Vice President at Aldridge Electric, one of the nation’s leading civil and electrical contractors.
While a paradigm shift in the overall power generation industry is occurring as natural gas and domestic energy sources are growing, the aging power grid infrastructure is creating work and job opportunities for engineers, project managers, and professionals with expertise in substation design and maintenance. And according to this study, people with those skills and experience aren’t easy to find. Almost 60% of respondents said the talent they need is “moderately to very” difficult to find.
Further accelerating job growth, is an increase in stimulus funding and taxpayer dollars giving companies the means necessary to start projects. In addition, the entrance of tech, IT, and communications to the industry may also be contributing to need for engineering talent. What does that mean for job seekers? Particularly for those who have a background in engineering, design and construction of power transmission and distribution systems, their skills are in high demand.
(Note: This study is based on interviews conducted at the IEEE PES T&D 2014 Conference in Chicago in April.)