A new report this week demonstrates that engineering students in energy and mining can expect to have excellent career and earnings prospects. The report from the National Academy of Sciences is titled "Emerging Workforce Trends in the U.S. Energy and Mining Industries: A Call to Action".
By now you have all hear that retiring baby boomers are going to leave a big hole in the work force. In the mining and energy sectors, that hole is expected to be about one third of the workforce in the next 10 years.
You’ve also heard that the USA doesn’t graduate enough high school and college graduates with the right technical backgrounds to fill all the jobs that are coming. That is particularly true in the mining and energy sectors.
According to the report "There also has been a long decline in mining and mineral engineering programs and faculty, with the U.S. graduating a nonsustaining number of mining engineers."
The story gets worse (or better, if you want to pursue such a career). The future jobs, due to the advance of technology, are going to require more education than the current jobs. And there aren’t a lot of faculty who can teach future energy sources such as solar, wind or biofuels. So graduates will be scarce. And when something is scarce, the price goes up. As a result, we can expect these graduates to have excellent earning potential.
The report calls on government to motivate students to pursue technical education. For graduates with the right aptitude, this report suggests that there will be well paying interesting work for the rest of their lives.
What it doesn’t say is that new mining and energy engineers can expect to spend a lot of time in remote places, where Saturday nights pass slower than a week in Chem 101.