Millennial Employees Enthusiastic About the Future of Energy
Posted February 3, 2021
Young professionals in the natural gas and oil industry know how far the sector has come over the past few decades, in terms of energy expansion and environmental protection, and they see the endless possibilities for continued progress. These industry employees are confident that America’s energy future will be built on affordable, reliable and ever-cleaner fuels, and they hope to make lasting contributions in their communities.
The views of industry Millennials were highlighted at last month’s State of American Energy event, which featured a roundtable conversation with them. The seven young professionals are employed at companies representing a cross-section of the natural gas and oil industry, and their insights reflect the sector’s ongoing progress and the optimistic vision for a cost-effective, sustainable energy future.
Our industry is building a multi-generational, more diverse workforce of innovators and problem solvers to address the world’s greatest energy challenges – and today, Millennials are taking the lead. They recognize the false choice between energy security and environmental protection, partly because they’ve seen firsthand the emerging solutions to our age-old energy questions.
As Yvonne T. pointed out in the clip above, Millennials’ familiarity with technology offers a competitive advantage for job seekers and their employers, particularly when it comes to developing breakthrough climate solutions. This generation is committed to responsible development, environmental stewardship and emissions reductions – and this is playing an important role as the natural gas and oil industry rises to meet these challenges.
By investing in advanced technologies, such as carbon capture, utilization and storage, and establishing private-sector initiatives, including The Environmental Partnership, the industry is driving meaningful progress toward climate goals.
Ashley S. explained how she previously worked at a sustainability firm that introduced clean energy technology into the U.S. marketplace. Yet, she said she has done more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in her current role at a natural gas pipeline operator than she ever did at the “green-tech” start-up. Ashley S. continued:
“We have this charge ahead of us, where there is this decarbonization…and I think there's no better talent than oil and gas talent, to rise to that challenge, and solve that problem.”
The participants underscored, again and again, the appeal of working in an industry that is adaptable and innovative, and one that produces tangible solutions related to the safety and sustainability of natural gas and oil operations.
Of course, natural gas and oil – and petroleum byproducts – are integral to the materials and processes that make our modern lives possible. Kris K. discussed the industry’s responsibility to fuel the world’s future energy demand, knowing that natural gas and oil will remain essential to the energy mix through mid-century.
From power generation to transportation to medical supplies, the impacts of this industry are so far-reaching that, as Ashley S. noted, you couldn’t walk into a hospital today and receive treatment without petroleum-based products.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought this reality into focus, and as governments manage the public health crisis, the natural gas and oil industry has proven that this workforce is ready and willing to help. For Chidi O., the industry’s response to the pandemic is defined by commitment – at the end of the day, U.S. operators are committed to safely and dependably delivering energy.
A talented workforce is foundational to the natural gas and oil industry’s resilience and future success, and that’s why API member companies are investing in programs to elevate energy-related education and career opportunities among Millennials and Generation Z.
According to an IHS Markit study, Millennials accounted for more than one-third of the natural gas and oil industry workforce in 2015, a percentage comparable to the overall U.S. economy at 35%. The share of Millennials in energy continues to increase, as this highly educated generation seeks good-paying job opportunities that allow individuals to apply their creativity, skillsets and unique perspectives.
Additionally, nearly 50% of new industry-related job opportunities will be filled by individuals that identify as African American, Hispanic, Asian and non-white through 2040, and nearly 1.6 million roles will be filled by women and people of color combined.
With initiatives like the STEM Careers Coalition, the natural gas and oil industry is positioned to attract an experienced and inclusive workforce of enthusiastic young professionals – the up-and-coming problem solvers who will lead us into the energy future.
About The Author
Sam Winstel is a writer for the American Petroleum Institute. He comes to API from Edelman, where he supported communications marketing strategies for clients across the firm’s energy and federal government practices. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Sam graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina, and he currently resides in Washington, D.C.