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Average Starting Salaries for This Year’s Graduates

From a CNN story this week, that graphic represents a landslide. To the person who asked in the recent Q&A (OK, the “A” is still pending) what they should study in school, might I suggest you put a lot of effort into your math classes, and consider engineering of some sort? The caveat of course is that the job market has tightened up significantly this year – even for engineers who were in such great demand a year ago.

July 28, 2009 Posted by | employment, jobs | 10 Comments

How Many Green Jobs?

While I recently wrote an article on Green Job Opportunities, until today I was unaware of just how many green jobs there actually are. Sure, I know it’s a fast-growing field, and many of the e-mails I get are asking about job opportunities in the sector. Today, a study was released by Worldwatch Institute that provides some answers:

Jobs in Renewable Energy Expanding

Currently about 2.3 million people worldwide work either directly in renewables or indirectly in supplier indus­tries. Given incomplete data, this is in all like­lihood a conservative figure. The wind power industry employs some 300,000 people, the solar photovoltaics (PV) sector accounts for an estimated 170,000 jobs, and the solar thermal industry, at least 624,000. More than 1 million jobs are found in the biomass and biofuels sector. Small-scale hydropower and geothermal energy are far smaller employers.

You might be surprised – as I was – to learn this:

For instance, Kenya has one of the largest and most dynamic solar markets in the developing world. There are 10 major solar PV import companies, and the country has an estimated 1,000-2,000 solar technicians. In Bangladesh, Grameen Shakti has installed more than 100,000 solar home systems in rural communities in a few years-one of the fastest-growing solar PV programs in the world-and is aiming for 1 million by 2015, along with the creation of some 100,000 jobs for local youth and women as solar technicians and repair and maintenance specialists.

This story was also reported in the Christian Science Monitor’s ‘bright green blog’:

Study: green jobs rising, fossil fuel jobs falling

This article reports some additional details, such as the number of workers in the geothermal (25,000) and hydropower (39,000) sectors, and for comparison notes that 7 million are employed in the coal industry.

Finally, a number of people have asked me to comment on T. Boone Pickens’ new energy plan. I have started to look at it, and began to look at natural gas reserves in the U.S. to determine whether his proposal is realistic given our natural gas situation. But natural gas reserves are a very muddled picture, and it will take some time to sort it out. At first glance, as a proponent of more CNG vehicles, there are certainly aspects of the plan that I like. In the interim, I would point you to Geoff Styles’ excellent crique: A Man, A Plan.

July 11, 2008 Posted by | employment, jobs, natural gas, T. Boone Pickens | 22 Comments

Renewable Energy Jobs at Google

A recruiter from Google recently contacted me and asked if I would put a note on here that they are looking for candidates for their Renewable Energy Group. You may recall that I previously wrote a post covering several companies – Green Job Opportunities. This one is specifically for Google. Below is their call for qualified people to take up the challenge of supplying clean energy to the world.


Environmental sustainability in the face of global climate change is a high priority for Google because, as our business grows, so does our demand for energy. We’ve worked hard to increase our efficiency and become carbon-neutral, but when it comes to buying clean and affordable electricity we still have limited options. We’ve recently announced that we’re taking a first step toward tackling this important challenge.

Business as usual: will not deliver low-cost, clean energy fast enough to avoid potentially catastrophic climate change. We need a clean energy solution that will deliver breakthrough technologies priced lower than carbon-intensive alternatives such as coal. Google is launching an internal R&D group to develop electricity from renewable energy sources at a cost less than coal. This initiative will explore advanced solar thermal power, high-altitude wind, enhanced geothermal systems, and eventually other breakthrough technologies as well.

Head of Renewable Energy: http://www.google.com/support/jobs/bin/answer.py?answer=81799&query=energy&topic=&type=energy

Renewable Energy Engineer: http://www.google.com/support/jobs/bin/answer.py?answer=81800&query=energy&topic=&type=energy

If you know other outstanding engineers who may be interested in joining the team, I encourage you to pass along this information as we are hiring for multiple positions.

May 29, 2008 Posted by | employment, Google, jobs | 9 Comments

Recession-Proof Jobs

I sometimes get questions from people wondering what kinds of jobs will be safest in the future. I always recommend that people look for something that interests them in either the energy or health care field. I am not as familiar with the manpower issues in the health care field, but we have serious shortages in the energy sector.

This is also consistent with my investment strategy. I invest primarily in energy, health care, international stocks, and environmental companies. Today, Yahoo published an article that suggests that these sectors – plus the education and security sectors – are exactly where jobs will be safest from a recession:

Recession-Proof Jobs in 2008

John Challenger, CEO of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, told Yahoo! HotJobs that careers in the following fields may offer a good chance of weathering a storm this year.

* Education. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has historically shown teaching to be relatively recession-proof. But demographics are important: High-growth areas like the Sun Belt offer much better prospects than the Rust Belt.

* Energy. “This is a major issue for the global economy, and jobs related to oil and gas, alternative energy and even nuclear are likely to see strong growth,” Challenger said.

* Health care. Almost half the 30 fastest growing occupations are concentrated in health services — including medical assistants, physical therapists, physician assistants, home health aides, and medical records and health information technicians — according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

* International business. “If you have a strong knowledge of other cultures, and an ability to work in another country, you’ll find plenty of opportunities,” according to John Challenger. “If you’re first generation Chinese, with business skills and Chinese language skills, you’re in good shape.

* Environmental sector. There is a huge and growing industry geared to combat global warming. “Not only will professionals with skills in sustainability issues be in demand through the end of the decade, we are likely to shortages of professionals with ‘green’ skills,” said Rona Fried, president of sustainablebusiness.com, a networking service for sustainable businesses.

* Security. “Crime doesn’t stop during a recession, and police officers, port security specialists and international security experts will continue to be in demand,” Challenger emphasized.

The article also warned that anything around the housing sector was a danger zone:

“The housing slump will touch anything related to housing, from real estate to investment banks, to engineering and architecture,” Koropeckyj said. Though public sector jobs grew at a fast clip in the last five years, state and local government jobs are likely to slow as home values, and, consequently, tax revenues, sink.

The housing slump could even extend to industries dependent on discretionary spending, like restaurants and retail, she indicated. Manufacturing, too, long in dire need of an upswing, is likely to keep waiting for one through 2008, Koropeckyj said.

People are going to need energy, even though they may despise the people that provide it for them. They are going to need health care. Find an interest in those fields, and you should have a relatively stable job.

January 24, 2008 Posted by | employment, health care, investing, jobs | 102 Comments