Two recent North America’s Building Trades Unions studies highlighted a variety of benefits provided by the oil and natural gas industries, which provide dramatically better construction jobs compared to opportunities in the renewable energy sector.
The first study found higher quality job opportunities in oil and natural gas construction, for both union and non-union energy construction workers. Both groups reported that oil and natural gas jobs offer better overall careers.
A second, separate study, revealed high school graduates who, successfully complete a building trades registered apprenticeship program and work in the oil/gas sector, earn better wages and receive better health insurance and retirement plans than their non-union counterparts.
This study also found oil/gas jobs to be safe and provide great opportunities for advancement.
“The findings outlined in these reports demonstrate that today’s oil and natural gas jobs are better for energy construction workers across the country in both the short and long term,” said Sean McGarvey, President of North America’s Building Trades Unions. “The research confirms what our members tell us: The career opportunities for renewables are nowhere near what they are in gas and oil, and domestic energy workers highly value the safety, reliable duration and compensation of oil and gas construction jobs.”
Energy sector jobs and energy sector construction jobs provide Americans without a college education a vital pathway to middle class careers and living standards, according to the report.
It further found that tradesmen and tradeswomen working in energy construction consider projects in oil and natural gas industries to have better wages, benefits and opportunities than renewable energy projects.
Construction workers reported better project variety, opportunities, skill development and project consistency in oil and natural gas construction. The better consistency is often attributed to regular maintenance and upgrades most facilities require.
It also showed many of the trades, who work on oil and natural gas projects, are not as prevalent on renewables projects, indicating skilled trade jobs are not highly interchangeable between these different sectors of the energy industry.
The second apprenticeship study compared individuals in registered apprenticeship programs to those in modular-trained apprenticeships. Men and women who complete a registered apprenticeship work on a higher percentage of projects which require OSHA safety training compared to modular-trained construction workers.
This safety training usually equates to fewer jobsite injuries for registered apprentices.
According to the study, when comparing tradesmen and tradeswomen from the same trade, individuals who completed a registered apprenticeship program earn higher wages, on average, than individuals who complete modular training.
The NABTU study also found that an individual who completes a registered apprenticeship is estimated to earn more in wages and receive more in benefits than their non-union counterparts.
“NABTU’s longstanding argument remains: ladders to the middle-class are vital in the energy industry and required in any successful workforce development plan,” McGarvey added. “We hope these studies provide a cautionary note for lawmakers, policymakers and activists, that oil and gas jobs are high-quality jobs, and as we rebuild the economy and transition, we need a plan to rebuild the middle class with family-sustainable wages, training and growth opportunities, and long-term and short-term benefits like the oil and gas construction sectors provide.”