Abstract: The Transmission Industry Critical Skills Forecast Analysis will identify and prioritize skills required in the transmission industry. The project will combine a functional analysis of the technical workforce's responsibilities with the industry's forecasts for the responsible job classifications.
Study Contact: Beal, Lisa
This INGAA Foundation report forecasts the most critical skills for the natural gas pipeline industry workforce. By identifying positions that expected to be in short supply and critical functions in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of pipelines, this study locates the highest risk "intersections" of workforce and tasks -- and gives the industry a place to focus efforts to enhance skill development methods and materials for these vital areas.
Executives in the industry have found that the recent weakened economy has reduced attrition of their workforces and increased supplies of skilled job applicants. However, these effects are expected to last only until the US economy recovers. At that time, a larger problem may be created by a bubble of attrition resulting from delayed retirements and workers feeling more confident in changing companies or industries. An economic recovery will also lead to increased competition from industries that share workforce skills, especially non-residential construction and electric power generation.
"The 2007 Securing our Future study brought awareness to the critical issue of workforce within the industry, and this follow-on study pinpoints skills and positions at highest risk. While companies are feeling more confident in their workforce, there is a potential for unprecedented levels of pent-up attrition in the short to medium term, just when most companies plan to increase their workforces. Present development methods that require many years of experience will not be able to keep up with the industry's needs for the next generation of highly skilled employees.
The study presents a set of recommendations for individual companies and the industry as a whole to implement now, well in advance of a possible attrition bubble. These include maintaining a focus on attrition levels, securing company knowledge, and developing plans for the expected and worst-case attrition levels. Additionally, enhanced skill development methods will reduce the need for extensive industry experience while continued communications with educational institutions and the public promotes education in preparation for natural gas careers.