Jobs in the power sector

The energy industry is going to be the largest sector in terms of investment, growth and employment. Skilled labor is the only aspect in which the industry lags behind. Prachi Rege reports

If you are a talented civil or electrical engineer and are looking for a lucrative industry to work in then the renewable energy sector provides some promising leads. Energy is an important factor of growth in any economy of the world. In India's 12th (2012-17) five year plan it is the key to propel the country to achieve 8-9 per cent GDP growth rate. However, there is a dearth of qualified and skilled professionals whose expertise in the domain can be applied to make this growth rate a reality.

Rahul Gupta, director, Rays Power Experts Pvt. Ltd., blames lack of awarness about the sector among youngsters and even academicians for the dearth of manpower in this robust industry. Also, the sector has developed at a much faster pace than expected making it difficult for people to catch up. "As compared to other industries, this sector is relatively new and hence people are not sure of the growth potential and availability of jobs. Moreover, most private companies working in this industry are start-ups which makes it more risky for job seekers to enter this sector,"says Gupta.

Experts point out that engineering graduates are likely to choose well-known brands as their employers. Start ups in this sector may be doing exceptionally well however, students may not aware of the same. This lack of knowledge has resulted in low percentage of engineers choosing this sector to make a career.

Industry professionals want educational institutes to develop graduates through rigorous educational course, research, projects with industries and through industry institute interface. Students should be trained to do rigorous projects on energy related issues. "The courses should be designed in such a way that it focuses on economics, finance, marketing in general, and energy economics, energy policy, renewable energy, tariff policy, energy efficiency and sustainable development etc in particular," mentions Shailesh Aggarwal, former deputy manager (Projects), Jindal India Thermal Power Ltd.

There are a few institutes in the country which offer courses on energy sector (SEE BOX). Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurgaon runs a School of Energy Management in collaboration with United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Ministry of Power, Government of India. They have introduced an energy management training programme for executives working in the power sector. "Students after completion of this course get large number of opportunities in different energy related industries such as consulting, project financing, project development, renewable energy such as solar, wind and hydro and hard core energy generating companies," says Atmanand , dean and professor, MDI Gurgaon. After telecom revolution the next revolution in India is the energy revolution. India’s growth will be determined by the growth of energy sector. The budding energy sector will provide ample employment opportunities to the students from different streams.

The booming sector can be broadly divided into oil and gas, coal, renewable energy, nuclear energy, carbon market, energy efficiency etc. It requires technical acumen as well as managerial expertise. "While civil or electrical engineering is a pre-requisite for hiring. For our business development profile and sales team recruitment, we look for graduates who have a combination of BTech and an MBA degree," explains Gupta. For example, to set up a power plant, one requires managers with domain knowledge of mechanical, electrical and civil field. Also, for power trading professionals, there is a requirement to have an understanding of the energy market, electricity act and policies of the government, power grid rules and regulations etc.

However, experts complain that currently the industry, is mainly dominated by people with technical acumen rather than those with managerial skill sets. Thus there is a huge demand of efficient managers in this sector."Having been part of power sector for more than five years in project management field, I feel a professional can perform well only if they have an in-depth knowledge and know-how of that domain," says Aggarwal.

According to Rajesh Kumar, former deputy manager, Voith Hydro Pvt Ltd., any person working in any one of the sub-sectors would require thorough knowledge of aspects like—Market analysis, government policies, foreign policies, environment, financial, operation management, business analytics and distribution. "In my five years in the industry I have been engaged in design of Hydro Power equipments (Large Hydro Generator) and I have observed that the hydro Power in India is still untapped to its full potential. There is huge gap between what we can generate and what we are generating and that too when Indian economy is under pressure for high rate of growth," explains Kumar. A well qualified professional employed in the middle management level can expect a remuneration anywhere between Rs 10 -15 lakh per annum, but it depends from person to person and also depends on nature of the job profile.

Make a choice:

1) School of Solar Energy, Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, Gandhinagar
2) MDI Gurgaon
3) The Energy and Resources Institute, New Delhi

4) Steinbeis Centre for Technology Transfer, India (SCTI), Hyderabad
(List is indicative)

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