Looking for a job in smart grid? There’s an app for that.
For the savvy specialist who is always on the go and looking for new employment opportunities in the smart grid space, the one-year-old staffing agency Kavaliro, which specializes in the power sector, has just released its mobile app for iPhone and iPad.
Although unemployment rates are still exceedingly high, certain technical sectors, and utilities in particular, are clamoring for talent. A study by Carnegie Mellon University’s Electricity Industry Center found that about half of the nation’s 400,000 power industry workers will be eligible to retire in the coming years.
A recent report by the Brookings Institute found that green jobs employ about 2.7 million people in the U.S., more than the fossil fuel industry. As utilities confront an aging workforce, fresh blood is badly needed.
Because of the shortage, many engineers probably don’t need an app for that. Talk to utility engineers and they’ll tell you that they’re regularly bombarded with offers at other companies (although younger engineers will sometimes share that they’re reticent to move to out-of-the-way locales). Power and automation companies, like ABB, are staples on campuses (like NC State) in an effort to turn out the next generation of workers.
But for others looking to come in from other sectors, like telecom, or those who may be curious about the skill set needed to get into smart grid, job listings can be good places to start. Some sectors, like wind, are also moving towards accreditation at certain schools to ensure that graduates have the skills that are really needed.
Kavaliro is part staffing agency, part IT provider to many of the largest utilities in the country. About 65 percent of the company’s open jobs are in power electronics (General Electric, ABB) or utility jobs (Progress Energy, Consolidated Edison), and nearly one quarter of the listings are specifically in smart grid, according to Mark Moore, President of Kavaliro. The company grew out of another venture, SGIS, which provided IT staffing solutions for the Department of Defense.
“I’ve been in this industry for 15 years and I’ve never seen us as busy as we are right now,” Moore said of the highly skilled IT space. Although many of the people they help place have already been in the utility space, they also work with specialists that come from other sectors, such as telecom.
Their relationships with utilities also help them find the right person for the job, even if it’s a person from outside of the utility space. While utilities and power automation companies are the focus, Kavaliro is also dabbling in other areas of clean tech, such as wind, but they don’t work in oil or gas. “Energy is the most sustainable industry,” said Moore. “We’re always going to need it."