If you find yourself daydreaming about a more meaningful job – a way to help others and reduce our impact on the planet – one sector to consider is energy efficiency. A subset of the clean energy industry, energy efficiency is putting Americans to work. In fact, it employs more people in the U.S. than solar, wind and clean transportation combined. With 2.3 million energy efficiency jobs in America, and a growth projection of 7.8 percent in 2019 alone, this thriving industry has a need for all types of talent – from entry level to executives.
When you think of “energy efficiency,” you probably think of individuals who help businesses and residents reduce their energy usage. That’s one aspect – but there’s much more. Energy efficiency employees work in data centers, factories and design studios. They develop new technologies, engineer complex systems, perform energy audits for startups and Fortune 500 companies alike, and help educational institutions improve their operations and save money for other programs – like music and art.
A September 2019 report by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) breaks down the energy efficiency workforce. The construction sector employs the most energy efficiency workers (1.3 million), followed by professional services (484,480 workers), and then manufacturing (321,580 workers). The industry with the lowest volume of employees, wholesale trade, is expected to grow more than any other energy efficiency industry in 2019. If this holds true, wholesale trade will employ nearly 200,000 Americans.
Where These Jobs Are Located
New Mexico led the pack in terms of overall growth from 2017 to 2018, with an 11.5 percent jump in the number of residents who work in the field. Nevada experienced the second-highest growth rate at 8.1, followed by Oklahoma and Colorado, both with 7.2 percent growth and barely topping New Jersey that grew 7.1 percent since 2017.
The highest-growth states now have the following totals of energy efficiency workers:
- New Mexico: 5,636
- Nevada: 11,155
- Oklahoma: 14,372
- New Jersey: 36,206
If you’re looking for volume, that list is different. The top states for energy efficiency jobs, in terms of total workers, are California, Texas, New York and Florida. These four states all have more than 100,000 residents employed in energy efficiency, and California has over 300,000.
Here’s a breakdown of the top 10:
When it comes to positions in the energy efficiency realm, the installation & repairs segment employed more than any other group, at 31.7%, followed by administrative jobs at 25% and production & manufacturing at 17.7%.
Company leaders surveyed in the September 2019 study offered insight into the hiring difficulty of various positions within the energy efficiency industry.
It was hardest to find qualified talent for sales, marketing and customer service in the wholesale trade and distribution sector. The second-hardest positions to hire were in the construction segment – mainly technician and mechanical support positions, followed by installation workers. Companies also had trouble finding engineers and scientists in the business service sector.
Considering this data, here are a few examples of high-demand positions:
- Customer service rep for a wholesale trade company
- Marketing manager for an Energy Star distributor
- Sales rep for a company that manufactures light rail components
- Technician for a green building company
- Electrician who focuses on energy efficiency
- Professional installer of energy-efficient appliances for new commercial buildings
- Marketing director of an insulation manufacturer
If you want to find rewarding work in clean energy, consider a job in energy efficiency. Start by creating your free professional profile on Clean Energy Jobs List – and then search for opportunities with organizations near you.