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Emerging Workforce Trends in the U.S. Energy and Mining Industries: A Call to Action (2013)

Chapter: 8 Overview of the Energy and Mining Workforce Using Federal Data Sources: Key Findings and Recommendations

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Suggested Citation:"8 Overview of the Energy and Mining Workforce Using Federal Data Sources: Key Findings and Recommendations." National Research Council. 2013. Emerging Workforce Trends in the U.S. Energy and Mining Industries: A Call to Action. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18250.
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8

Overview of the Energy and Mining Workforce Using Federal Data Sources: Key Findings and Recommendations

Appendix B contains a detailed compilation and discussion of data for the overall United States energy and mining workforce, which has been drawn from federal data sources. It responds to Task 1 of the Statement of Task, which requests trends in the size, growth, and demographics of the U.S. energy and mining workforce, disaggregating each industry of interest—oil and gas, nuclear, nonfuel mining, coal mining, solar, wind, geothermal, and geologic carbon sequestration—by sector and occupation. The future demand for and supply of workers in these industries, sectors, and occupations is also discussed in response to Task 3 of the Statement of Task.

Appendix B mainly utilizes information available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), since it is the primary federal agency responsible for collecting and disseminating information about the U.S. workforce. As an independent agency, the BLS is the single best source of objective information about the U.S. energy and mining workforce. However, information from the BLS (and other federal agencies) utilizes standardized coding schemes—such as standardized industry and occupation classifications—that limit the way in which the energy and mining workforce can be examined. Appendix B also utilizes information from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics and the Department of Labor’s Mine, Safety, and Health Administration. In addition, Appendix B also provides workforce information on the primary federal agencies responsible for management and oversight of energy and mining based on FedScope, which can be used to generate information on the federal civilian workforce.

Key findings and recommendations have been drawn from the data and

Suggested Citation:"8 Overview of the Energy and Mining Workforce Using Federal Data Sources: Key Findings and Recommendations." National Research Council. 2013. Emerging Workforce Trends in the U.S. Energy and Mining Industries: A Call to Action. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18250.
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discussion contained in Appendix B. These findings and recommendations are listed below.

KEY FINDINGS

8.1 The demographics of the energy and mining workforce do not mimic the overall U.S. workforce: the energy and mining workforce is predominantly male and has relatively little minority representation. Moreover, the U.S. labor force is expected to become more diverse by 2020. The energy and mining workforce is also older than the overall U.S. workforce: a majority of the energy and mining industries have more workers age 45 and older than workers under the age of 45. Taken together, these findings suggest that the energy and mining industries with workforces that are less diverse and older—such as mining—may experience greater difficulties replacing lost talent.

8.2 Key energy and mining occupations expected to experience the greatest increases in talent demand over the period 2010 to 2020 are boilermakers; geoscientists, except hydrologists and geographers; electrical power-line installers and repairers; and geological and petroleum technicians.

8.3 In the near term, key energy and mining occupations requiring postsecondary education that may experience the greatest difficulties acquiring talent with the requisite education are: geological and petroleum technicians; occupational health and safety specialists; nuclear technicians; petroleum engineers; nuclear engineers; and health and safety engineers, except mining safety engineers and inspectors. If annual growth rates of degrees and certificates conferred continue as they have over the past 5 years, these difficulties may continue in the longer-term for occupational health and safety specialists, geological and petroleum technicians, and health and safety engineers, except mining safety engineers and inspectors.

8.4 The primary shortcoming of using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to examine the energy and mining workforce is limitations associated with the NAICS system, the industrial classification system used by the BLS and other federal statistical agencies. These limitations reflect the speed with which the classification system changes to reflect changes in the industrial makeup of the U.S. economy and the way in which industrial classification codes are assigned to an establishment. These limitations likely result in an undercounting of energy and mining employment.

8.5 The workforces in key federal agencies responsible for the management and oversight of energy and mining are more demographically diverse than the workforces in the energy and mining industries they

Suggested Citation:"8 Overview of the Energy and Mining Workforce Using Federal Data Sources: Key Findings and Recommendations." National Research Council. 2013. Emerging Workforce Trends in the U.S. Energy and Mining Industries: A Call to Action. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18250.
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     oversee, but are generally less demographically diverse than the overall U.S. workforce. Moreover, in each of these agencies, a majority of the workforce is 45 years old and older. The Mine Safety and Health Administration workforce is the least demographically diverse and the oldest, suggesting it runs a greater risk of losing talent due to retirement.

RECOMMENDATIONS TO MEET FUTURE LABOR REQUIREMENTS

The following recommendations should be initiated as soon as possible. They are ordered and labelled in terms of when they would be expected to be operational. The recommended actions are expected to continue for the long term. Medium term is defined as 2 to 5 years, and long term as more than 5 years.

8.1 The government and industry (through its national industry associations) should consider working together to find ways to attract younger workers, women, and minorities into energy and mining occupations and into the federal agencies responsible for the management and oversight of energy and mining. It would be beneficial to focus efforts on addressing potential talent gaps in the energy and mining occupations where talent demand is expected to be greatest. (Medium Term)

8.2 The Department of Education, in collaboration with the Department of Labor and national industry organizations, should consider working together to identify and implement strategies to increase the pipeline of workers with the postsecondary education necessary to work in the energy and mining industries, and particularly in occupations for which the supply of workers with the requisite education is anticipated to fall short of demand. (Medium Term)

8.3 The Department of Labor, through its Bureau of Labor Statistics, should determine and pursue a more effective way to partner with industry, through its national industry associations, to collect on a periodic basis key energy and mining workforce information that would facilitate the ongoing assessment of the demand for and supply of talent across the energy and mining industries. (Long Term)

Suggested Citation:"8 Overview of the Energy and Mining Workforce Using Federal Data Sources: Key Findings and Recommendations." National Research Council. 2013. Emerging Workforce Trends in the U.S. Energy and Mining Industries: A Call to Action. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18250.
×
Page 245
Suggested Citation:"8 Overview of the Energy and Mining Workforce Using Federal Data Sources: Key Findings and Recommendations." National Research Council. 2013. Emerging Workforce Trends in the U.S. Energy and Mining Industries: A Call to Action. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18250.
×
Page 246
Suggested Citation:"8 Overview of the Energy and Mining Workforce Using Federal Data Sources: Key Findings and Recommendations." National Research Council. 2013. Emerging Workforce Trends in the U.S. Energy and Mining Industries: A Call to Action. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18250.
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Page 247
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Energy and mineral resources are essential for the nation's fundamental functions, its economy, and security. Nonfuel minerals are essential for the existence and operations of products that are used by people every day and are provided by various sectors of the mining industry. Energy in the United States is provided from a variety of resources including fossil fuels, and renewable and nuclear energy, all with established commercial industry bases. The United States is the largest electric power producer in the world. The overall value added to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011 by major industries that consumed processed nonfuel mineral materials was $2.2 trillion.

Recognizing the importance of understanding the state of the energy and mining workforce in the United States to assure a trained and skilled workforce of sufficient size for the future, the Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Energy technology Laboratory (NETL) contracted with the National Research Council (NRC) to perform a study of the emerging workforce trends in the U.S. energy and mining industries. Emerging Workforce Trends in the U.S. Energy and Mining Industries: A Call to Action summarizes the findings of this study.

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