Posted by: doug308 | May 9, 2011

Power Skills In Demand

The demand for specific skills and manpower in general for any given industry is based on a number of factors. Though in power right now there’s one factor that seems to be overriding the rest. The simple fact that we have an aging workforce and all of us Baby Boomers are all pretty close to retiring. (Here’s an article from the IEEE Spectrum that deal with this issue from a nuclear standpoint http://spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/tech-careers/the-aging-nuclear-workforce ) And this is going to create some major issues very soon. Ranging from simply not having the manpower to get projects completed in the usual timeframes to driving salary levels up as companies compete in a diminshing talent pool. Some companies recognized this issue some time ago and have been working to develop a farm team of folks in specific specialty areas to fill the gaps that will be created by attrition. But for some the realization is coming late and they are scrambling to come up with ways to deal with the problem.

From my perspective the real problem is not necessarily that there is no one coming up through the ranks to fill the void, but rather that there is a severe shortage of folks in the mid range of their career (folks that are say in their 40’s and early 50’s) to fill roles in project management and similar positions. Unfortunately there is no easy answers or quick fixes to this issue. Things like the doldrums in the US nuclear industry for the last 30 years, the rapid expension of the electrical grid, and and a general malaise about dealing with things until it’s late in the game makes this the kind of thing where you just have to hold your nose and take your medicine.

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