Finding the Right Niche Career in Today’s Utilities Sector

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Are you trying to find a job in the utilities industry, but are not quite sure which end of the industry offers the most growth and challenges? Don’t blame yourself.  Finding the right career in today’s utilities industry can be tough. The industry in general is undergoing a massive upheaval. Older workers are retiring at an alarming rate, while at the same time, new areas are emerging and suffering a talent vacuum. 

So where are all the high paying utilities jobs? Employment experts familiar with the utilities industry cite increased competition, conservation, improved equipment and appliances, and more efficient power plants as partially to blame for the dearth in hiring. 

That said, there are bright spots. While not as glamorous as electricity or as sexy as solar, jobs in water and sewage treatment plants are expected to increase by about 46 percent. Admittedly, jobs in this sector, especially in structures and facilities may not appeal to some, but jobs in operations and control can get pretty high tech. 

The demand for college grads and experienced professionals in this sector is due to increasingly tougher standards for clean water. So even though jobs in the utility industry have seen a downturn, there are opportunities for eager young grads with a technical background, as well as those with degrees in business, marketing, data analysis and office support functions.
And while certain electricity and solar sectors are downsizing, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that increased energy will reinvigorate such renewable-based power utilities like wind, solar and geothermal energy. If you’re coming out of college with a degree in engineering, computer hardware or software, you may have the skills certain utilities will needed for R&D. These fields are expanding as companies and municipalities struggle to control costs and boost efficiencies. 
Finally, as more gas and electricity utilities find themselves competing for customers, grads with business, marketing and sales degrees, and those with sales skill sets will once again be in demand.
So, yes, jobs in the utility industry won’t be easy to come by. If you have the technical skills and the right degree, you should do well if you persist and keep your options open. But it’s important to note that finding the right niche in this sector will require some “homework.” You’ll have to visit facilities, talk to those in the industry you’re most interested in, and then determine if the career path in the niche you’re evaluating offers the growth and opportunities you need to keep you content. 



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