Sign of the times for 2019? It might be “Help Wanted”

Sign of the times for 2019? It might be “Help Wanted”.

Clean energy companies are hiring new workers now. On January 3, I spent the day visiting the websites of NECEC member companies and strategic partners to count up the number of relevant job openings posted in the last 30 days, and get a sense of the occupations in highest demand.

The results? I found over 1,100 current United States job postings at 54 different NECEC firms that were connected to delivering clean energy products and services. There were dozens of openings for jobs in other countries as well, in keeping with the international scope of many NECEC members.

Who’s Hiring?

Just about half (23) of the companies I visited had fewer than ten current openings, with several of those posting one to three positions.

A significant group of employers had postings for 10-20 available jobs, including Borrego Solar, Center for Sustainable Energy, Doosan, EtaGen ,IGS Energy, Stem, SunRun, and Vineyard Wind.

Several firms had more than 20 current openings in the United States, and some had more than 50 recently posted positions. Members, Sponsors and Partners doing the most hiring as the year began included Ameresco, AvanGrid, Bloom Energy, Brookfield, Charge Point, CLEAResult, Direct Energy, Eversource, Gallagher, National Grid, Nexamp, Orsted, Schneider Electric, Shell, SunPower, Veolia, and Vivint Solar.

What are employers looking for?

There were no big surprises from the January review of job announcements. Current postings fell into seven big categories, including: 

  • Engineering (Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Energy, Mechanical)
  • Business Development, Sales and Marketing
  • Business Administration and Operations
  • Data Management and Information Technology
  • Software Development
  • Skilled Trades (Electricians, HVAC techs, installation workers, etc.)
  • All other

As in past job announcement reviews, demand for engineers of all types, and all experience levels, was extremely high. Employer need for more electrical and mechanical engineers led the way. The second largest group of job postings involved searches for business development, sales and marketing professionals.

Just the tip of the iceberg

If finding a new job is one of your New Year’s resolutions for 2019, and you don’t find your profession or occupation in the big categories above, don’t despair. Here are a few things to remember:

  • The 2018 US Energy and Employment Report found over three million clean energy workers employed in the United States, including more than 500,000 in the Northeast, and more than 100,000 in Massachusetts alone.
  • A high percentage of available jobs are never posted online.
  • Jobs at small companies, in particular, are often unposted. The clean energy sector has a very high percentage of very small (1-10 employee) firms.
  • Those openings that are posted are often for technical and business development positions from employers competing for the same pool of qualified candidates.
  • This review examined only 54 of the hundreds of clean energy employers in the Northeast.

Shout out to clean energy employers

Although there are some headwinds and uncertainties facing our sector in the Northeast states, I expect 2019 to be a relatively good year for new hiring at employers involved in energy efficiency, solar, wind, storage, grid modernization, and related support services.

If you’re a clean energy employer with a perspective to share on employee recruitment, hiring, diversity, retention, engagement, and training, we’d love to hear from you. Drop me an email (kevinldoyle@gmail.com), and look for future clean energy workforce development blog posts throughout the year.

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Kevin Doyle

Kevin is Principal of Green Economy and Co-Chair of the Clean Energy Council's Workforce Development Group.