Are public utilities a Good Career Path? If you find fulfillment in serving others and making lives better, a job in public utilities could be just what the doctor ordered. With job opportunities spanning across many professions, there’s sure to be one perfect fit for you! Ensuring your community leads a comfortable life while earning money can’t be beat for many kind-hearted individuals.
Public utilities offer an exciting career path where individuals collaborate with government and communities to guarantee basic services like water, gas, and electricity are delivered. Indeed, careers in this field can be highly rewarding in terms of pay, growth/development opportunities, as well as job satisfaction.
Your career choice has a tremendous impact on how well-lived life you lead in an increasingly digital-centric society. If you are searching for a public utility job or considering making changes to your career path, this post might be beneficial to you.
What do public utilities jobs pay?
After investing so much time and energy into education, everyone hopes for a well-paying job. Public utilities offer employment opportunities across a range of professions such as engineers, communication specialists, and managers.
Utility operator salaries differ based on the job. If you are fresh out of college, expect an entry-level position with a lower wage; however, do not let that deter you as these industries offer excellent career advancement prospects and job security. On average, employees in public utilities make around $47.34 per hour on average.
In the United States, public utilities include:
- Natural gas
- Electricity companies
- Telephone companies
- Water companies
- Sanitation and waste disposal companies
Statistics show that there are 675,775 employees employed in the utility industry of the United States as of July 2022. This large sector continues to experience growth due to an increasing need for service provision and offers many career options within it.
Utility operator jobs
In the United States, the utility sector ranks among the highest employers. In 2021, this sector employed 19,830 electrical engineers, 23,000 control valve installers/repairers, 22,280 first-line supervisors/managers of mechanics, installers, and repairers, and 61,590 electrical power line installers and repairers.
Engineers play an integral role in the utility sector and earn on average a salary of $100,640 according to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS). They supervise production and safe distribution processes across various sectors like natural gas, electricity, water/sanitation services and telecommunications networks.
Public utility engineering jobs encompass a range of experience levels from entry-level to more experienced roles. Job descriptions differ across different sectors and typically involve research, design, production, testing and maintenance activities.
Engineers in this sector differ in educational qualifications, discipline, functions, and industry.
- Mechanical engineers
- Computer engineers
- Telecommunication engineers
- Civil engineers
- Nuclear engineers
- Chemical engineers
- Electrical engineers
- Environmental engineers
- Material science engineers
- Aeronautical & aerospace engineers
- Industrial engineers
Other utility operator jobs involve maintenance, installation and repairs. While not necessarily an engineer by qualification, these professionals must possess technical skills such as electricians, steamfitters, pipe layers and fitters, plumbers and mechanics. Their duties vary according to the industry but may include installing equipment like power lines or industrial machinery or fixing electrical problems.
In the utility sector, there are various managerial positions from team leaders to top-level administrators. Qualifications and job descriptions for managers differ according to the nature of business and services provided. Generally, managerial duties involve planning, organizing, leading, and controlling operations within an organization.
Every organization requires managers to enhance productivity through enhanced efficiency and effectiveness of labor and processes. Salaries for managers in the utility sector vary based on level and industry; annual earnings range from $52,000 to $170,000. Utility manager roles differ as follows:
· Water supply managers manage water purification and pumping processes, oversee maintenance, and prepare quality and supply reports.
· Electrical power distribution managers control power generation and distribution systems and activities within their region of operation.
· Natural gas supply managers plan and direct gas supplies to consumers, inventory, deposits, and withdrawals.
· Petroleum product distribution managers control and oversee the distribution of heating oil products to retailers and storage sites.
· Waste systems managers control the collection and safe disposal of solid and liquid waste, and schedule staff training on the handling of waste and safety protocol.
· Water pollution control managers oversee the operations of sewage treatment plants, schedule maintenance, and prepare quality reports.
Administrative and office support utility workers
Public utilities employ customer representatives, office clerks and administrative assistants/secretaries as well as other staff that assists in running offices on a daily basis. Some jobs require high school diplomas while others necessitate college educations; the higher the qualification and experience requirements for the position, the greater the pay rate will be.
Every organization requires accountants to help in the making of financial decisions. And their roles may include:
· Collecting and tracking internal and external payments.
· They also correct institutional finances through audits
· The preparation of budget forecasts
· Processing of tax payments and returns
· Publishing financial statements
· Reconciling bank statements
· Managing profit and loss accounts
· Ensure compliance with financial policies and regulations
Public relations, Public Affairs, and Communication experts
Communication and public relations utility workers’ job description entails some of the following:
· Writing and production of promotional materials, speeches,
· Organizing events and press conferences
Drivers are an essential component of utility organizations, often responsible for picking up and dropping off products between locations. Drivers earn an expected wage of $17 per hour and must possess certain abilities such as operating heavy-duty vehicles, having a commercial driver’s license, mechanical expertise and excellent communication capabilities. Furthermore, reliability and dependability are essential attributes in these jobs.
Duties of utility drivers include:
· Handling documents
· Planning routes
· Loading and off-loading of products
What are the best paying jobs in public utilities?
Are public utilities a lucrative career path? That depends on your goals and skillset. If you want the highest paying jobs in this sector, then educational qualifications and experience are required. Salaries vary by job grade; basic workers earn the least pay while middle management and top management receive higher salaries.
Salaries for public utility employees vary based on institution and region, and here are some estimates
· Basic workers are entry-level positions whose average hourly rate of pay is $16 an hour and annualized salary of $27,000.
· Middle management utility jobs tend to offer more compensation, averaging $78,000 annually and necessitating higher qualifications and experience.
· Upper management public utility employees typically earn the highest salaries, up to $150,000 annually.
What are the advantages of a career in public utilities?
· Public utility jobs typically require minimal education and experience – in some cases even senior-level positions don’t require any work experience! Entry level positions usually do not require educational credentials either. Therefore, practically anyone can apply for these jobs and be employed provided they meet the necessary qualifications and criteria.
· Public utility sectors offer some job security and when employed in this sector; employees have unions fighting for their rights. Furthermore, this industry typically meets basic needs and in some cases operates monopolistically; therefore employees don’t need to fret about economic downturns or organizations going out of business.
· Salaries in public utilities tend to be higher than those offered in private industries with similar roles and industries. As job requirements (education/experience) become more stringent, so too does remuneration reflect this fact.
· Entry-level utility jobs are easy to land because they are less competitive.
· Utility jobs offer excellent career progression systems for salary and positions based on employee years of experience. Through competency evaluations and advancement in education, employees can easily rise through the ranks.
· They also offer good benefits and bonuses compared to other careers. These may include special allowances, pension, paid leave, and award leaves..
· Utility industries hardly lay off employees unless found guilty of any offenses. Even though innocent employees can appeal the dismissal, defend their actions, and claim their jobs back.
· Finally, the utility operator’s salary is free of gender-based parity. Female and male employees in similar positions earn the same pay.
What are the disadvantages of a career in public utilities?
· Some utility jobs, especially those of basic workers, don’t offer advancement opportunities. And if you are looking to grow your career in the utility industry, you need to have a college education.
· High-paying utility jobs are extremely competitive
· Some utility jobs, especially smaller companies, are not as secure as they can easily go bankrupt, as recently witnessed.
· Bureaucratic restrictions and lack of flexibility might be a drawback for most people. Utility employees only work within their job requirements resulting in monotony and little motivation.
· Utility workers are often undervalued by society, and most of their jobs are not prestigious.
Is public utilities a rewarding career path? No single answer applies here; each career has its own advantages and drawbacks. Utility operator jobs offer various skills sets and technical requirements, so only after carefully weighing the advantages against potential drawbacks can you determine if this industry provides you with the satisfaction you seek.