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How Do You Replace a Retiring Hydroengineer Workforce with a Specialized Skill Set?

It was recently highlighted by Fox News that two-fifths of the workforce at the Hoover Dam will be retiring in the next 5 years.

The government will need to replace about 40 workers, mostly in specialist roles, including Hydroengineers and Electricians. The skill set required for these positions is considered to be uncommon and not taught in most schools throughout the US, according to the spokeswomen from the Department of Reclamation, Rose Davis.

Davis goes on to say that, "It's hands-on training. We teach mechanics and hydroelectricians how the dam works... We teach them how to fix generators from the 1930's." Currently, the Department of Reclamation is competing with 111 other employers who are also hiring for positions requiring hydroelectric expertise.

The Dept. of Reclamation is 6th among the companies with the most job ads, according to WANTED Analytics.

The other employers include:

  1. Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association
  2. URS Corporation
  3. State of California
  4. Exelon Corporation
  5. ASI Constructors, Inc.
  6. Bureau of Reclamation
  7. MWH Global
  8. Pacific Gas & Electric
  9. Brookfield Renewable Power
  10. New York Power Authority

Recruiting conditions are likely to be moderately difficult for hydroelectric positions, scoring a 40 on our Hiring Scale. Our Hiring Scale ranges from 1 to 99, with 99 meaning hardest-to-recruit. However, while it seems that a sufficient number of candidates exist, they may not have the specialized skills the Dept. of Reclamation is looking for, like working with 83-year old systems. This is why they have begun partnerships with colleges. It's important that colleges train their students on older infrastructure that they will likely be working on, in addition to the new developments in the area. Within the Las Vegas Nevada metro area, the region where the Hoover Dam is located, University of Nevada - Las Vegas is the only nearby university that has electrical and electronics engineering education programs. The Dept. of Reclamation can also expand their college recruitment efforts to include more schools nationally that also have electrical and electronics engineering education programs. If they haven't already, they can look to these colleges and universities to set up the proper curriculum or training programs. Below are the colleges and universities located throughout the US that have the programs required for Hydroelectric Engineers and Electricians.

Colleges or Universities with the Most Electrical and Electronics Engineering Graduates

  • Georgia Institute of Technology - Main Campus (Georgia Tech)
  • University of California - Berkeley (UC Berkely)
  • The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin)
  • University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

Despite there being about 14,300 electrical engineering graduating candidates likely to enter the workforce in 2014, Davis says millenials are hard to keep. These employees often leave the company for a pay increase often provided at private sector companies. The average advertised pay for Hydroelectric Engineers throughout the US is $83,150. This number represents the pre-negotiated salary used to attract candidates. It is not necessarily the agreed upon pay between the employer and employee. Employers may want to consider paying employees within this range or offering other incentives to increase employee retention.

If you're recruiting for a niche engineering role, visit WANTED Analytics to learn how you can find this data for you region. 

Views: 36

Tags: Agency Recruiting, Corporate Recruiting, Human Resources, Recruiting Tools / Sourcing, engineering, gap, hydroelectric, shortage, skills, talent

Comment by Steven Guine on April 18, 2014 at 7:27pm

Or, the government could outsource these functions (while guaranteeing the workers are paid fairly).

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