Energy Managers—Do you know what your (future) employer is looking for?
The energy management field is changing, so we thought we’d survey the current job openings to see what is expected of current applicants. Read on for some expected and unexpected results.
1: Energy efficiency expertise is still a core competency.
Just about every employer directly stated or implied in the job description that the successful candidate would demonstrate personal competence in tracking, analyzing, and reducing energy use. And for about half of the job openings, the employer required Certified Energy Manager (CEM) professional certification (or equivalent) of job applicants.
2: Communication skills are indispensable.
Today’s energy manager is not only a technician, but is also an evangelist for energy savings. Nearly every job description emphasized the importance of communication and presentation skills, and not just for project management. It was expected that the energy manager would be able to present the company energy program to audiences including upper administration and other organization stakeholders. That ability to take complex data and provide a relevant audience-sensitive interpretation appears to be a growing aspect of the professional energy manager’s job role.
Are you interested in sharpening your communications skills?
3: It’s not easy being green.
Sustainability was seldom mentioned in the job descriptions we surveyed. This doesn’t mean that it’s not a growing interest of your employer. But it’s more likely that sustainability issues are being, or will be, addressed outside of the energy management domain. This division of labor seems a bit unusual given that energy data is common currency for both the sustainability manager and the energy manager. But that seems to be the way things are for the present. Perhaps future corporate organizational models will offer a more holistic approach, particularly as software tools are developed or refined.
4: Experience counts.
Nearly every employer specified a period of previous employment experience. The upper tier positions for larger firms often specified 10 years of previous employment. Most successful applicants for a full-time energy manager position would need at least 5 years of experience in the field.
5: The college degree is expected.
Nine out of 10 employers specify a bachelor’s degree. By contrast, a master’s degree is almost never expected.
6: Project management expertise is vital.
Nearly all the employers specified project management as a necessary skill. And since project management often involves managing other people, it was no surprise that the majority of employers stressed team leadership/collaboration skills as valuable or necessary for the successful applicant.
7: Data analysis skills are paramount.
About three-quarters of employers mentioned analysis as an important job component. Coupled with other expectations for project management and team leadership, it is clear that today’s energy manager shoulders significant responsibility for project development and vision-setting. Measurement and verification (M&V) experience is a closely-related expectation of many employers.
8: Successful energy managers are computer-savvy.
The majority of employers expected expertise with software applications, especially Microsoft Office, and a number went further to mention specific software applications that were integrated in their current energy-related business processes.
9: Engineering is seldom an emphasis.
If you’re mulling the question, “To PE or not to PE?” you can take heart. The Professional Engineer (PE) licensure was only required for one of the job positions we reviewed, although a small minority of employers indicated that the training was desirable.