The industry is a mix of different companies involved in:
constructing and managing infrastructure such as power stations
generating electricity using fossil fuels, Utility Contractor Manchester nuclear or renewables
distributing electricity and gas around the national network
buying electricity and gas on the energy market and selling it to consumers
extracting, transporting and refining oil and gas
providing clean water to homes and businesses, and treating wastewater
enforcing industry rules and regulations.
Within these industries, graduates can work in:
human resources (HR)
information technology (IT)
marketing and public relations (PR)
research and development (R&D)
For examples of specific job roles, see energy and utilities jobs.
Who are the main graduate employers?
The most well-known energy companies in the UK are the ‘big six’ suppliers:
Centrica (British Gas)
However, many other recruiters also have graduate openings. Browse a list of the smaller energy suppliers that operate in the UK market.
Examples of other major graduate employers include:
National Grid plc
A growing number of energy companies focus on renewable technologies. If this is your area of interest, you can search the members of RenewableUK to find relevant organisations or explore careers in the renewable energy industry.
Other options include jobs in the oil and gas industry or getting a graduate job in nuclear energy.
There are a number of water companies in the UK, some of which are also responsible for sewage treatment. For example:
Severn Trent Water
Welsh Water/Dŵr Cymru
View a complete list of UK water companies.
Public sector jobs can be found with local authorities and in organisations such as Ofwat and Ofgem, which regulate the water and energy industries respectively.
For information about careers in waste management and recycling, see the environment and agriculture sector. You may also want to read about the engineering industry.
How do I find a job in energy and utilities?
According to Energy UK, over 680,000 are employed in the energy sector, with £200billion having been invested in gas and electricity since privatisation. There are many opportunities to work in this sector, although a lot of roles, especially those that are technical in nature, require an accredited degree or postgraduate qualification in a specific engineering discipline (such as chemical, electrical or mechanical engineering).
For commercial roles in marketing, sales and HR, any degree subject is accepted. Business, accounting or numerical degrees are often preferred when it comes to finance and trading jobs. Some employers advertise research posts for those with PhDs. Search for postgraduate courses in energy studies.
In terms of employability skills, you will need to show:
flexibility and a willingness to work outdoors, offshore or overseas
problem-solving and analytical skills, so that you can deal with complex technical issues
specific skills and knowledge of increasingly specialised technology
the ability to work in a team and manage projects, budgets and people
communication skills, such as explaining designs or problems to non-technical staff.
There are a number of useful websites to help you as you consider different careers in this sector, including:
Energy Institute – Careers
RenewableUK – Careers
Talent Source Network
The National Skills Academy – Nuclear
You can also search for graduate jobs in energy and utilities.
Large energy and utilities companies offer structured graduate schemes in commercial, IT, engineering and environmental functions. You can find details of these on their websites. For graduate programmes in the nuclear industry, see nucleargraduates.