5 reasons to pursue a job in energy and utilities

Peter Nicholls
Team GradAustralia
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We’ll assume that you’re reading this for one of two reasons: either you’ve never before considered a career in energy and utilities; or, you’re almost convinced that it might be for you, but need a few more reasons to take the plunge and learn more about the industry and its major employers. In both cases, you’ve come to the right place—we’ve done the research, and found what we consider to be the five best reasons that a person might choose a career in the energy and utilities sector.

1. There are more employers and career paths than you might think

The energy and utilities industry encompasses several large sub-industries oriented around such things as petroleum, gas, renewable energy, coal power, nuclear power, energy trading schemes, and infrastructure. These sub-industries, in turn, contain many careers that are characteristic of them. Some examples include solar panel installer, electrical engineer in a power plant, maintenance officer, and specialised technical roles.

However, it pays to remember that energy and utilities companies range in size from lean startups, like many app-based energy traders tend to be, to industry giants like AEMO, AGL, and Alinta Energy. Businesses in this latter category tend to create a range of supporting roles. Consequently, the energy and utilities industry also offers a diverse range of in-house careers related to finance, IT, human resources, production, maintenance, procurement, engineering, law, customer service, sales, and research.

2. You can confront challenges of great social importance

Some of the biggest challenges we’ll face over the next hundred years are related to energy and utilities. They include ensuring a sustainable and reliable supply of energy for a growing population; managing the world’s supply of potable water; updating Australia’s aging distribution networks; and coming up with innovative ways of addressing issues like global warming, waste management, and increasing population density in urban areas.

Fortunately, there are already ways that you can contribute, whether that means investing your skills in the growth of a solar energy startup or joining the social outreach initiatives of a global company. Consequently, if you feel highly motivated by the sense that you’re making a difference, then the energy and utilities industry could be for you.  

3. You’ll have opportunities to travel domestically and abroad

It goes without saying that Australia isn’t the only place that needs energy and utilities. As a result, you can travel the world with the skills you gain working in the Australian energy and utilities sector. There are also opportunities to travel domestically. In fact, some roles, especially those in engineering and maintenance, can entail routine trips to rural and remote areas.

4. There are opportunities to make a difference in developing nations

This ties into the point above, but provides an additional reason why travel might be appealing to you: for the past five years, developing nations have outspent developed nations when it comes to investments in renewable energy. This is largely because the bulk of the world’s population growth is projected to occur in the developing world over the next century, driving demand for energy and creating an opportunity for early investors. And with energy costs for renewable and coal-fired energy nearing parity, some developing nations, such as China and India, have prioritised sustainable initiatives, creating various exciting employment opportunities for experienced graduates.  

5. You’ll be entering an industry in which Australia is considered a world leader

Australia leads the way when it comes to various technologies that are transforming the energy and utilities industry. Our researchers have made breakthrough contributions to areas such as photovoltaic engineering, energy storage, methane recapture, hydroelectric power generation, waste reprocessing, and energy distribution. Far from being a traditional industry in which things seldom change, the Australian energy and utilities industry thrives on innovation, experimentation, and research.

To search for graduate and internship jobs in the energy and utilities industry, visit our industry job search page at GradAustralia.