You won’t believe what the energy industry is running out of!

While Washington tries to figure out how the U.S. can free ourselves from our dependence on oil, another shortage is going to create a seismic shift in our ability to get the oil, gas, and coal out of the ground and into our homes and businesses.

Demographic realities have created a labor shortage for Energy Utilities that can no longer be ignored. The potential risks to the industry are clear when you consider the roles effected by demographic trends—plant managers, nuclear engineers, shift supervisors, transmission construction managers, technology professionals and energy traders. These roles are central to the industry’s ability to deliver uninterrupted power to its customers.

These trends are significant and require executives like you to act now to address this strategic business problem.  A few of these imminent trends are:

  • 48 years is the average age of a utility employee.  Only one other industry, out of 54, has a higher average age—Real Estate.
  • 19.2 % of the industry is within 5 to 7 years of retirement.
  • 16,000 fewer 16 to 34 year olds work in the industry, compared to 1990.
  • Since 1995, the number of workers, 55 and older has increased 2 ¼ times.  Older workers are the fastest growing segment within the industry.
  • During the same time period, the 25 to 44 year old segment has contracted by 25%.  That means you will have fewer managers and supervisors to support increasing demand for energy and a seismic shift in the demand for skilled workers.

While I tried to come up with a very clever or compelling close to this post, I’m stuck on this…so I’ll go with it.

What happens when the last person leaves the utility industry? How will avoid having to turn the lights out on all of us?

For more information about trends in different industries and the workforce, visit the Perfect Labor Storm website.


Ira S Wolfe