Many predictions about the job market in 2010 have a common theme: Competition for jobs will be high and hiring will be will be slow to pick up. While I agree that some areas of the economy will be in a slow growth mode, I can say with full assurance that the Environmental and Infrastructure job markets will heat up and gain speed toward the end of 2010 especially in the area of water infrastructure. Don’t believe me? Let me explain why I believe water infrastructure jobs will grow in 2010.
The Opportunity to Fix Our Water Infrastructure
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) will force over $6 Billion towards the maintenance and construction of the water infrastructure where it is sorely needed. You have heard about the large amounts of energy lost in the electrical grid. Did you know that we, as a nation, lose an estimated 7 Billion gallons of drinking water per day through leaking pipes? The maintenance and construction required to fix this issue will provide strong opportunity for long-term term job growth. Another point behind my prediction is the EPA is under mandate to get all of the water project stimulus money under contract by February 17, 2010 to “expeditiously create jobs”. Will these jobs materialize immediately? No. But they will come as companies gear up to perform the work.
What immediate jobs will be created from these funds?
Utility and underground construction: According to the report “Sudden Impact: Assessment of Short-Term Economic Impacts of Water and Wastewater Projects in the United States” from the Clean Water Council “Investments in water and wastewater infrastructure have immediate, substantial and far-reaching effects on the economy. At the national level, an investment of $1 billion almost triples in size as total demand for goods and services reaches an estimated $2.87 to $3.46 billion.” Water Utility Contractors will experience a spike in growth due to these “shovel ready” projects. They will need people who can work in outdoor and underground conditions such as construction managers, superintendents, pipe fitters, welders, machine operators and other skilled labor. There will be strong demand across all of the positions in this industry as projects move forward.
Civil, environmental engineers and scientists: Every water project must be designed and specified before they are constructed. Engineers and scientists play a pivotal role in making sure that water systems are constructed properly and monitor their performance once they are in operation. As I have said in previous articles, these fields have substantial shortages of people. The major reason that layoffs have occurred in this career field is a lack of funding for projects not a lack of work. If you are considering a wholesale career change this area of the environmental industry offers strong opportunities.
Project Finance and Asset management: The costs of building and maintaining water infrastructure must be documented and managed over time. The water industry, like everyone else, is facing significant challenges in procuring and allocating new funding sources while balancing costs and compliance. These jobs will require people who are well-educated in accounting, engineering, finance, information technology and law. There are other niche careers in this area such as metering and rate structuring which will need people as well.
More Information to Come
Over the next few articles, we will explore more career opportunities in environmental and infrastructure markets. What I need from you is simple: Tell someone about this blog and share these articles. In the meantime, I will make sure to provide links to resources that will help job seekers to find these opportunities. One more thing: watch Hinton Human Capital Jobs for more opportunities.