August 2013, Vol. 240 No. 8

Business Meetings & Events

Utility Workers Fast Reaching Retirement Age Now What?

Shannon Miller, Midwest Energy Association

The Midwest Energy Association (MEA) Utility Leadership Academy hosted webinars on talent management and workforce planning earlier this year highlighted by some stunning statistics from Energy Workforce Development on retiring energy workers. The data showed the average utility work is older than 48 – and nearly half are age-eligible for retirement within the next five years.

“The energy delivery industry workforce is beginning to undergo big changes, and baby boomer retirements are trending up,” said MEA President Patrick Van Beek. “Will the industry attract and retain the talent needed for large infrastructure projects and technology associated with new delivery systems?”

The talent management webinars were conducted by energy industry consultant Alan Lindsay of PLS Consulting, who defined talent management as having the right people, in the right place, with the right abilities, at the right time. He used the webinars to offer human resource executives a taste of how using talent management as a system can tackle industry concerns.

Lindsay suggested that companies perform a workforce gap analysis to determine where critical talent needs exist and then putting that information into a “heat map,” designed so executives can easily see and react to potential human resources shortfalls.

Along with webinars, MEA’s Utility Leadership Academy is offering online courses in workforce development from Skillsoft within the 2013 Hot Topic’s course series. The Hot Topics library also covers generational diversity management, managing your career and dealing with organizational change.

The MEA Leadership Committee is compiling practices from its members’ respective companies, concerning talent management, workforce development and trending worries. In September, the Executive Committee will hear from a panel of human resources managers, concerning strategies for tackling workforce development in this “retirement-rich environment.”

MEA partners with PLS Consulting for one- and two-day seminars on talent management for utility companies. The in-person seminars provide an opportunity for human resources managers to share and network best practices and challenges.

For further information, visit and click on the ULA logo. For questions on the seminar on talent management, contact Shannon Miller at or (651) 289-9600, ext. 110.

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