Who gets hired in Energy Sector? Navtej Kohli spill the beans…
Recently energy sector have seen massive influx of people with technical degrees like BS, MS or PhD in Engineering, math, or other hard sciences. This prevalence of people with technical degrees in energy sector is largely due to self-selection. A part of reason is – individuals aspiring to make their career in energy sector were also keen to get the taste of related topics and focus on them academically. Moreover the employers too hail from engineering background thus, are more interested in hiring engineers.
This tendency is most characteristic of hiring preferences among oil companies, oil services firms, refineries, pipelines, grid operators, equipment manufacturers, energy services companies, and utilities. These firms want to hire people who have their heads around how their technologies work—people who can master the jargon quickly, and who can fit into their culture.
However, there are certainly many people with liberal arts backgrounds doing great work at these types of companies. A non-technical degree does not in any way shut you out of any energy sector career path; it simply makes you slightly more unusual in the eyes of some interviewers. If you can craft a compelling story about why you are passionate about and deeply understand the energy world, your degree becomes far less relevant. In addition, if you are applying for a finance, economics or accounting job with a degree in those fields, you are also less subject to scrutiny about your knowledge of geology, electrical engineering, or chemistry. Once you have a couple years of experience in the industry, that serves as a degree equivalent and you will have established your credibility.
Many of the service jobs in energy are interested in simply hiring smart people who demonstrate an ability to learn a new industry quickly. Energy consulting, banking, and investing jobs often screen for nothing different than their counterparts in other industries. Similarly, the newer, alternative energy companies are often heavily filled with people who studied liberal arts, economics, and government in college. These companies are progressive in terms of their business strategies, and usually this comes across in their approach to hiring as well. In addition, nonprofits typically first look for passion and commitment to advocacy work before they look for technical background.
Apart from academic background, traditional energy employers are also keenly interested in people who have a strong connection to the geographic region in which the company is located. These companies like to hire for the long term, so will often grill out-of-state candidates about why they would want to move to, for example, Houston or Atlanta.
– Navtej Kohli