The energy sector has long been an industry that pays high salaries and things are no different today. According to The Engineer, the average salary in the energy/renewable/nuclear sector is £62,709 – double the average UK salary (£31,461) across other sectors.
As global energy transitions away from fossil fuels, we expect to see salaries in the renewables sector in particular, increase further. Allied Market Research forecasts that the global renewable energy market will grow from $881.7billion in 2020, to $1,977.6 billion by 2030 – a CAGR of 8.4%.
In recent years, an increasing number of companies have shifted their focus towards providing services for the solar and wind markets, which has created many opportunities for engineers and technicians to pursue new career paths.
What’s more, demand for additional skills in the sector means that today, those working in renewable energy come from a variety of backgrounds. You’ll find people with backgrounds in projects management, IT and infrastructure, coding, and chemistry occupying high-paying roles in the energy sector.
To help you plan your next career move in the energy industry, we’ve put together our list of the top-paying energy jobs in 2022:
Information Systems Manager
Average salary: $146,360
The energy sector may not be the first industry that comes to mind when you think of Information Systems Manager roles, but the future of energy lies in technology. As the highest paying job in the energy industry, this role involves maintaining computer networks and systems. It can include uploading software, updating databases and overseeing technology professionals.
As an Information Systems Manager, you’d be responsible for setting the IT goals of a company, implementing the necessary computer systems and maintaining hardware, security, and data. You’d also work closely with other IT professionals such as data analysts, software engineers, web developers and programmers.
To become an Information Systems Manager in the energy sector, you’ll need to have a Bachelor’s Degree in a technology-related discipline and ideally, some experience working in the energy industry. However, given the demand for IT skills in the sector, employees tend to come from a range of backgrounds, including engineering, programming, and other industries.
Employers typically look for candidates with relevant qualifications, experience and soft skills like clear communication, decision-making, and organisation.
Average salary: $144,830
In today’s energy marketplace, there’s an increasing need for energy-efficient buildings that use fewer resources and less energy. Architectural managers make detailed plans for developing new buildings, products, and related projects. They plan and coordinate activities, manage budgets, and hire and supervise employees.
As an Architectural Manager, you’ll mostly work in an office, although the nature of the job requires you to make frequent trips to construction sites. Depending on the role, you may be responsible for providing energy efficiency training, leading research, and verifying the technical accuracy of project designs.
Most Architectural Managers will have a Master’s Degree in Architecture and have experience in leading engineering teams. Employers typically look for candidates that have excellent organisation skills, an eye for detail, and the ability to provide leadership.
Given that most countries still rely on fossil fuels, there’s still significant demand for Petroleum Engineers across the globe. They’re typically responsible for designing and developing effective methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the earth’s surface.
The role can be very hands-on and involve the installation, operation, and maintenance of technical equipment. Petroleum Engineers also carry out surveys, testing, and analyses. The role can be quite varied with some engineers working in an office, and others offshore.
Petroleum Engineers typically have at least a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, and the highest paid engineers usually have several years’ industry experience under their belt. Employers usually look for a combination of analytical and creative skills, as well as the ability to lead a team.
Average salary: $95,640
A Materials Scientist develops new products for the energy sector. For example, in renewables, they could be responsible for designing solar panels, semiconductors, or wind turbine blades.
In this role, you’ll typically need a deep understanding of the materials used in today’s energy market, including metals, glass, ceramics, and plastics. Materials Scientists also work extensively with computers, software, and design programmes.
To become a Materials Scientist, you’ll need to be educated to degree level and hold a qualification in a science-related discipline like chemistry, computer programming, or technology.
Average salary: $92,040
Geoscientists, who are experts in the earth’s structure, have long been an essential part of the energy sector. They explore how certain energy-related activities like drilling impacts the ground’s stability. They’re responsible for exploring energy resources on land and at sea.
Typically, Geoscientists divide their time between working indoors in laboratories and outdoors, conducting research. They often travel across the world and so work irregular hours.
With the imminent threat of climate change to our planet, Geoscientists are in demand more than ever before. However, we’d expect demand to reduce over the next decade as the industry transitions to renewable energy.
To become a Geoscientist, you’ll typically need to have a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in a discipline related to Geoscience. Employers usually look for candidates with a strong eye for detail, analytical, and research skills.
Power Plant Operator
Average salary: $85,950
Although the future of the energy sector lies in renewables, for now, nuclear power remains an important element. The risk of accidents in nuclear power plants is declining, however, there’s still demand for operators to ensure that processes are carried out safely.
A Power Plant Operator is responsible for controlling power-generating equipment. The role involves reading charts and meters to gauge voltage and electricity flow, as well as maintaining control boards and machinery.
Typically, Power Plant Operators don’t require any formal qualifications beyond secondary school, although a qualification in Construction Plant Operation would be an advantage.
Extensive on-the-job training is provided and Operators should expect to be thoroughly tested in this role. Power Plan Operator salaries are high because of the risks associated with the job. However, we’d expect to see a decrease in demand over the coming years, as smart-grid technology continues to make inroads in the energy sector.
Average salary: $83,134
Project managers are needed in almost every area of energy. The renewables sector in particular, is seeing increased demand for qualified people who can ensure projects are delivered on time and to budget.
In this role, you’ll typically be responsible for coordinating and overseeing large solar and wind projects, ensuring they’re launched on time, to exact specifications. Depending on the exact role, you could be responsible for planning schedules and budgets, allocating work to team members, and reporting on progress to stakeholders.
To become a Project Manager in the renewables sector, you’ll need a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management, or another energy-related discipline. Experience of working in construction, or as part of industrial projects would also be an advantage.
Average salary: $71,360
Environmental scientists help companies reduce their impact on the environment as they extract natural resources. They also look for ways for companies to mitigate their use of hazardous chemicals and pollutants.
In this fulfilling this role, you’d be responsible for carrying out field and laboratory tasks to ensure that energy producing facilities and renewable installations don’t cause any unnecessary damage to the environment. You’d also need to monitor pollution levels and their impact on energy workers and the general population.
To work as an Environmental Scientist, you’ll need to have a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science, Engineering, or Bioscience. Employers also look for candidates with strong research and analytical skills.
Wind Turbine Service Technician
Average salary: $54,370
Precedence Research forecasts that the global wind turbine market will surpass $102.4 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 6.34%. It’s no surprise then that Wind Turbine Service Technicians are some of the most in-demand roles in today’s energy sector.
The role typically involves installing and inspecting new wind farms, and maintaining and repairing existing sites. The job is well-suited to those with a mechanical mind, who also have a head for heights. Technicians typically work outdoors, on-site at wind farms and are often required to travel for periods of time.
Although you don’t need to have a degree to become a Wind Turbine Service Technician, having a Bachelor’s in an Engineering discipline will be an advantage. However, given the demand for technicians in the renewables sector, people tend to come from a range of backgrounds. Many have worked in construction, the automotive industry, various engineering roles, and technology.
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