How Many Jobs Are Available In Public Utilities

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Last Updated on July 16, 2023 by Chris Panteli

How Many Jobs Are Available In Public Utilities

Are you searching for a rewarding career path that combines essential services, stability, and a sense of purpose?

With the demand for clean water supply, reliable power plants, efficient transportation, and advanced communication services on the rise, the public utilities sector offers a wealth of job opportunities.

In this post, we’ll explore the challenges of starting a career in public utilities, and explain how many jobs are available in public utilities.

What Are Public Utilities In The US

Public utilities in the United States are essential services provided to the public by government entities or regulated private companies. These utilities are responsible for delivering crucial services to communities and are typically regulated to ensure affordability, accessibility, and reliability. 

The main types of public utilities in the US include:

  • Water and Wastewater
  • Electric Power
  • Natural Gas Utilities
  • Telecommunications
  • Public Transportation Systems
  • Sewage Treatment
  • Postal Service

Working In The Public Utility Sector: Pros and Cons

a man delivering packages to clients

Working in the public utility industry has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are some pros and cons of working in the public works sector.

✅ Pros

✅ Job Stability

Public utilities are essential services that provide necessary infrastructure to communities. This often translates to job stability, as these services are in high demand regardless of economic conditions.

✅ Benefits and Compensation

Many public utilities offer competitive salaries and comprehensive benefits packages, including healthcare, retirement plans, and paid time off.

✅ Career Advancement

Public utility organizations offer a good career path and opportunities for professional growth. You may have the chance to move up within the organization and take on leadership roles.

✅ Social Impact

Working in the public utility sector allows you to contribute to the well-being of the community. You provide essential services that directly impact people’s lives, such as ensuring access to clean water, reliable electricity, or efficient transportation.

Many employers, including those in electric power generation, are an equal opportunity employer.

✅ Technological Advancements

The utility sector is constantly evolving and embracing new technologies. This provides opportunities for employees to work with cutting-edge tools, systems, and infrastructure.

❌ Cons

❌ Bureaucracy and Regulation

Public utilities are subject to government regulation and oversight often via a public utilities commission. This can sometimes result in bureaucratic processes and decision-making slowing down projects and initiatives.

❌ Lack of Flexibility

Due to the critical nature of the services they provide, public utilities often require employees to work on a fixed schedule, which may not offer as much flexibility compared to some other industries.

❌ Aging Infrastructure

Many public utility systems in the US are aging and require significant investments in maintenance and upgrades. This can create challenges in terms of funding and resources, and may lead to increased workloads and pressure.

❌ Public Scrutiny and Accountability

Public utilities are accountable to the public and face increased scrutiny from stakeholders, including customers, regulators, and government officials. This can sometimes lead to additional pressure and public criticism.

❌ Limited Innovation

Some public utilities may face challenges in implementing innovative technologies or adapting quickly to changing market conditions due to regulatory constraints or budget limitations.

Job Types Available In Public Utilities

a field technician working on issues in public utilities

Public utilities offer a wide range of job types to support their operations and provide essential services to the public. Here are some common public utilities jobs to consider:

Engineering and Technical Roles

  • Electrical Engineer
  • Civil Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Chemical Engineer
  • Network Engineer
  • Systems Engineer
  • GIS Specialist (Geographic Information Systems)

Operations and Maintenance

  • Plant Operator
  • Field Technician
  • Lineworker
  • Maintenance Technician
  • Meter Reader
  • Instrumentation Technician

Customer Service and Billing

  •  Customer Service Representative
  •  Billing Specialist
  •  Meter Services Representative
  •  Call Center Agent

Regulatory and Compliance

  • Regulatory Analyst
  • Compliance Specialist
  • Environmental Compliance Officer
  • Rate Analyst

Management and Administration

  • General Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Finance Manager
  • City Manager
  • Human Resources Manager
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Project Manager
  • Human Services
  • City Clerk

Environmental and Sustainability

  • Environmental Specialist
  • Sustainability Coordinator
  • Conservation Program Manager
  • Renewable Energy Analyst

Information Technology

  • IT Support Specialist
  • Network Administrator
  • Cybersecurity Analyst
  • Data Analyst
  • Software Developer

Safety and Security

  • Public Safety Coordinator
  • Security Officer
  • Emergency Management Specialist

Planning and Development

  • Strategic Planner
  • Capital Projects Manager
  • Urban Planner

Communications and Public Relations

  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Communications Manager
  • Social Media Coordinator

Average Salary Of A Utility Worker

a cybersecurity engineer looking at two monitors with graphs

The average salary of a utility worker varies depending on factors such as location, experience, and job responsibilities. Utility workers can be employed in various roles within public utilities, including operations, maintenance, and field services. 

Data shared by one recruitment website estimates the average salary for a utility worker in the US is $62,443.

Most Paying Jobs In Public Utilities

Within the public utility sector, certain job roles tend to offer higher salaries due to factors such as specialized skills, seniority, and leadership responsibilities. Here are some of the best paying jobs in public utilities.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

As the top executive, the CEO oversees the entire organization, sets strategic goals, and manages operations. They are responsible for making major decisions and driving the success of the utility. CEO salaries in the US are on average $821,009.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

The CFO manages the financial aspects of the utility, including budgeting, financial planning, and risk management. The average CFO salary in the US is $428,169.

Chief Operations Officer (COO)

The COO is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations and ensuring operational efficiency. They manage departments such as engineering, maintenance, and operations. This leadership position often comes with an average salary of $479,027.

Engineering Managers

Engineering managers oversee engineering teams and projects within the utility. They coordinate engineering activities, ensure compliance with regulations, and provide technical expertise. These roles often come with average salaries of $128,076 due to the specialized skills and responsibilities involved.

Regulatory Affairs Managers

Regulatory affairs managers navigate the complex regulatory landscape in the public utility sector. They ensure compliance with laws, regulations, and policies, and often represent the utility in regulatory proceedings. These positions can command an average salary of $100,741.

Senior Engineers

Senior-level engineers with expertise in areas such as electrical, civil, mechanical, or environmental engineering can earn high salaries within public utilities. They oversee projects, provide technical guidance, and ensure infrastructure reliability and compliance. Senior engineers in the US, like those working in a water treatment plant, can earn a salary of $141,627 on average.

How Many Jobs Are Available In Public Utilities

engineers at work

The number of jobs available in the public utility sector can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the utility company, location, and overall economic conditions. Public utilities encompass a range of industries, including water, electricity, natural gas, telecommunications, and transportation, which collectively employ a significant workforce.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 600,000 people are employed in the public utilities sector.

What to Consider When Searching for a Job in the Public Utilities Sector

When searching for a job opening in the public utilities sector, it’s important to consider several factors to ensure a successful and fulfilling career.

Job Opportunity

Research the job market and assess the demand for positions in the public utilities sector. Look for job growth opportunities and emerging trends within the industry to find areas with a strong job outlook.

Education and Training

Consider whether additional training or education would be beneficial. Some positions may require specific degrees or vocational training. Research educational programs, certifications, or apprenticeships that can enhance your qualifications for your desired role.


Consider the location where you want to work. Public utilities exist in various regions, and job availability may vary depending on the area. Research the utility companies operating in your desired location and understand the local job market.

Compensation and Benefits

Understand the salary range and employee benefits typically offered in the public utilities sector for the employment opportunity you are interested in. Research industry standards, compare salary ranges, and evaluate the overall compensation package, including healthcare benefits, retirement plans, and paid time off.

Work-Life Balance

Think about the work-life balance offered by potential employers. Public utilities often provide essential services that require around-the-clock operations, which may involve shift work or on-call responsibilities. Consider how these factors align with your personal preferences and lifestyle.

Career Advancement

Explore the potential for career growth within the public utilities sector. Assess the career opportunity for promotion, professional development, and advancement within the organization. Look for companies that offer training programs, mentorship opportunities, or clear career paths.

Job Security

Public utilities often offer stable employment due to the essential nature of their services. Assess the stability of public utility companies, their financial health, and any potential regulatory or industry changes that may impact job security.

By considering these factors, you can make informed decisions about job opportunities in the public utilities sector that align with your skills, interests, and long-term career goals.

A career in public utilities offers an array of opportunities for individuals seeking meaningful work, job stability, and the chance to make a positive impact on communities. 

You should now understand how many jobs are available in public utilities and the skills needed for this challenging sector. Whether you’re drawn to engineering, operations, customer service, or environmental sustainability, the public utilities sector offers a diverse range of roles to suit your interests and strengths.

Your next step is to brush up your resume and search for current job openings. Contact local recruiters or public utilities companies to apply for suitable vacancies. Alternatively, register a job interest card with your city and they will contact you when a suitable opening becomes available.

Take the first steps today toward starting a fulfilling and impactful career in the public utilities industry.

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