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Skilled Candidates are in Demand for Lucrative Smart Grid Jobs

Smart Grid

July 03, 2012

Skilled Candidates are in Demand for Lucrative Smart Grid Jobs

By Cheryl Kaften
TMCnet Contributor

There’s an old saying that “money is power”—and that’s true today, in the sense that those who have the credentials to work in the next-generation power industry will receive excellent compensation.

In fact, a recent survey of 184 smart grid hiring managers and executives — sponsored by Austin, Texas,-based Zpryme, a research-based advisory firm, and executed by Boca Raton, Florida-based —has revealed that the average annual compensation for experienced smart grid management professionals is $136,000.

“The rapid digitization of the U.S. electric grid has created a lucrative job market for energy industry professionals….Utilities and universities across the United States must educate a new generation of energy leaders from diverse backgrounds in computer engineering, computer science, and engineer-focused IT degrees," said Zpryme CEO and director of Research, Jason S. Rodriguez.

When asked, “How should current university students be preparing for a career that works closely with the smart grid?” a representative from Siemens’ (News - Alert) Smart Grid division suggested, "Engineering degrees with a  focus on power systems, plus IT courses, software development and knowledge of the electrical grid—with a Master’s [degree] preferred."

Like no other career track in energy before, Zpryme's Smart Grid Hiring Trends 2012INFOgraphic reveals that U.S. smart grid hiring will continue to gain strength as more utilities seek to deploy intelligent grid technology.

Other findings of note from the survey include the following;

  • Compensation– The average annual compensation for new hires without previous experience (except internships) was $55,600. The average annual salaries for experienced engineers and operational professionals and senior experienced engineers and operational professionals were $93,800 and $119,200, respectively. The average annual compensation for experienced management professionals was $136,000; and the average annual pay for experienced directors and executive managers was $175,000 and $190,000, respectively.
  • Hiring Trends–Companies with 1,000 or more employees accounted for 60 percent of the hiring in 2010 and 2011. However, from 2010 to 2011, the average number of employees hired by companies of this size decreased from 53.6 to 45.2 professionals. Companies with 501 to 1,000 employees hired an average of 27 employees in 2010 and 36.6 employees in 2011. The average number of employees hired by the companies represented in the study increased from 24.8 in 2010 to 25.7 in 2011. Twenty-five percent of respondents said that it’s taking longer to recruit new hires without previous experience; 45 percent commented that it also is taking more time to recruit experienced new hires.
  • Getting a Foot in the Door–The hiring managers and executives identified referrals from industry contacts and word-of-mouth from current employees as their top sources for recruiting experienced industry professionals. When it comes to new hires without previous experience, the top two sources for recruiting were headhunters and referrals from industry contacts.

Finally, how hard is it to keep an employee once he or she has been hired in this extremely competitive field? Sixteen percent of respondents said that retention of smart grid employees is a major problem—and 24 percent added that employees are staying with companies for a shorter time today than they were five years ago.

To see a video on hiring from, click here.

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Edited by Brooke Neuman

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