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Industry Culture in Energy & Utilities

By Erdin Beshimov

China and India's growing need for energy, political developments in Latin America and Africa, and the presidency of Vladimir Putin in Russia all have an impact, believe it or not, on the work culture in the energy and utilities industry.

Away from Suits and Ties

Traditionally perceived as a conservative, male-dominated industry enclosed in stuffy corporate quarters, energy and utilities has begun opening its doors to tech-whizzes, science dorks and tree-huggers, some women among them. The industry culture is changing as the world searches for new and clean sources of energy, and environmental issues become a priority.  So the suits and ties of yesterday are slowly being replaced by jeans and sneakers, and many an energy company's offices may soon feel less like boardrooms and more like college lounges, with midnight pizza and computer games.   


A Culture of Change

Perhaps no industry is changing as rapidly and dramatically as the energy and utilities industry.  First came the oil crisis in 1973, then a legislative push for economic deregulation, followed by the establishment of new environmental standards, and now this whole sector is in the midst of a race to develop new, environmentally-responsible sources of energy.  A culture of change pervades this industry. 

Global Outlook

Now that the bulk of America's oil comes from abroad, a keen eye on what's happening around the world is a prerequisite for success.  People in the industry have to constantly track what is happening in OPEC states and other oil producers such as Russia and Kazakhstan, as well as how the soaring need for energy in China and India is affecting the global demand and supply. There's also plenty of opportunity to work abroad, particularly by starting on an oil rig, at a refinery, or doing seasonal work on a pipeline. The types of jobs available in energy and utilities are similar no matter where in the world you are.  


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