After this Friday’s abysmal jobs report, it might come as a surprise to hear that over half of all professionals in the energy sector (NYSE:XLE) said they cannot find enough qualified people to meet current hiring demands, and unlike the economy, the industry keeps growing and creating jobs faster than the U.S. can turn out skilled workers to fill them.
Currently, over 100,000 people work in energy-efficiency roles (NYSE:PBW) like fixing and installing windows to managing efficiency programs and utilities. And in the next 10 years, that number is expected to quadruple. One area of growth is in contracting — contractors will come to your home for an “energy retrofit”, which could include caulking your window to prevent leaking, and replacing old furnaces with new, more efficient models. Job growth in this area is owed to President Obama, who set aside billions of dollars for energy retrofits in his 2009 stimulus package
But the biggest area of job growth in the energy efficiency industry is for sales specialists, program managers, and engineers, all working in order to get as much energy out of the existing power grid as possible. Program managers might work to encourage office building owners to turn down air conditioners during a heat wave in order to reduce demand on the power grid, or get several thousand homeowners to sign up for energy (NYSE:XLE) retrofits. Energy efficiency engineers are needed to design software that allows utilities (NYSE:XLU) to run programs like that necessary to collectively turn down air conditioners throughout an office park during a heat wave.
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With the exception of engineers, none of these positions require a specific four-year degree but can rather be filled by anyone who’s generally qualified for the duties of the job to which he or she is applying. And the best part is that most of these jobs have salaries ranging from $50,000 to $150,000.