Diversity in the U.S. Energy Workforce: Data Findings to Inform State Energy, Climate, and Workforce Development Policies and Programs

Source: NASEO

Energy technology innovation, private- and public-sector investments, and state, local, and federal energy and climate policies have propelled economic development and supported the creation of millions of jobs across the U.S. economy. Yet data from an array of analyses suggest that these benefits have not extended equitably across the energy sector workforce, which lags on gender and ethnic and racial minority representation particularly within the skilled trades, technology innovation and commercialization, and upper-level management of high-growth industries such as renewable energy development. Minority demographic groups have faced additional setbacks since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, which has disproportionately impacted Hispanic or Latinx energy workers.

A new report, Diversity in the U.S. Energy Workforce: Data Findings to Inform State Energy, Climate, and Workforce Development Policies and Programs, aims to increase understanding of these disparities and inform conversations about potential policy improvements and solutions to mitigate them. The report was authored by BW Research Partnership and is being released by NASEO in partnership with the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Community Development Action Coalition’s Clean Energy Initiative.

Select key findings of the report include:

  • Compared to the workforce as a whole, the energy sector has below-average representation of Hispanic/Latinx and Black/African American workers.
  • White energy workers are more likely to feel accepted and valued at their workplace and have higher levels of career satisfaction compared to Asian, Black or African American, and Hispanic or Latinx energy workers.
  • Women are less likely than men to report experiencing a sense of workplace belonging and recognition for their accomplishments, and are less likely to feel supported in their career advancement and professional development compared to men.
  • White energy workers are significantly more likely to report both higher starting wages and higher wages overall compared to racial and ethnic minority workers, even when accounting for differences in educational attainment.

Please contact Sandy Fazeli, NASEO Managing Director of Policy and Development (sfazeli@naseo.org) to learn more about the report and other upcoming opportunities to engage on workforce development, diversity, and access topics.