Energy sector bright spot for career opportunities

October 8, 2013

Key takeaways from the Connecting Talent and Jobs in the Energy Industry webinar

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) recently hosted the Connecting Talent and Jobs in the Energy Industry webinar aimed at helping students and recent graduates understand current and emerging career opportunities in Ontario’s evolving energy sector and how they can break into the industry. The webinar was hosted by Ivette Vera-Perez, Business Development Manager at OCE, and featured experts Nicole Hynum, Strategy Manager for Conservation, and Hiring Manager, Conservation Co-op Program, Ontario Power Authority (OPA); Brad Marks P.Eng., Regional Director, Canada GE Digital Energy; Bruce Orloff, Canadian Smart Grid Leader, IBM Canada; and Michael Tingle, Director, Corporate Business Development, ORTECH Consulting Inc., and Community Chair, Linked:Energy.

In case you missed the webinar, here are some key points that can help you with your career planning.

Current and future areas of opportunity

Ontario’s energy sector has been evolving rapidly in recent decades and this will continue as the aging electricity infrastructure is replaced with new technologies. As a main government priority, conservation efforts will continue to generate jobs in the public and private sectors, particularly those that relate to consumer education and engagement initiatives. Smart Grid is another huge focus that will bring new opportunities as the overlap increases between the energy and IT/ICT sectors. Other important areas are renewables, integration and energy storage.

Beyond engineering – emerging focus on different roles and technical skills

Engineers will always be heavily sought after in the energy sector, but its evolving nature has brought an increased focus on different technical skills and roles. Replacing and maintaining Ontario’s aging infrastructure is a massive undertaking that will increase the demand for planning and evaluation, project management, energy management and business development roles. Also, the implementation of Ontario’s Smart Grid will continue to bring a big demand for data management, advanced analytics, research and cyber security roles. Considering these changes, a program such as project management could be excellent preparation for a career in energy. Other fields of study that can lead to careers in the energy sector include:

  • Business administration (MBA), marketing or finance
  • Computer science or data analytics
  • Change management

How you can break into the industry

If you’re a student or new grad who is interested in working in the energy sector, consider gaining hands-on experience through a co-op, internship or development program, such as the ones from OPA, GE and IBM Canada that were mentioned by the presenters. Also, take advantage of the professional social media platform LinkedIn. Differentiate yourself by creating a detailed profile with projects you’ve worked on and other relevant experience. You can also join the Linked:Energy group to join discussions and connect with professionals in your area.

As more and more experienced workers retire and the sector continues to evolve, all our experts agree that now is an excellent time for students and new graduates to seek opportunities in Ontario’s energy industry. If you want to know more but missed our webinar, don’t worry – you can still view it here.