Throughout 2018, NCSEA worked with computer science students from North Carolina Central University (NCCU) to collect and analyze information about the current state of diversity and inclusiveness in the clean energy ecosystem from our members and partners. NCSEA designed the survey to collect demographic information about the respondents as well as their job satisfaction, barriers faced to diversity and inclusiveness, and where there is room for improvement.

Information obtained from this study allows NCSEA to better understand the diversity and inclusivity of our clean energy ecosystem and identify where we can help break down barriers and support a more inclusive clean energy future.

While we did not collect enough responses to be able to represent the entire clean energy industry, we can report on the responses of those who did complete the first iteration of the survey. Since we did not require responses to every question in the survey, not every qualifying respondent provided a response to each question. Nevertheless, each topic discussed below had answers from at least 100 respondents. The full report is available here.

In terms of demographics, most identified as white (75%) and male (60%). While 86% of the respondents were between ages 25 and 64, the highest reported age group was 25-34. In addition, over half the respondents earned a master’s degree (52%). While about half the respondents reported that they had been at their current organization for at least 3 years, almost one third (32%) have been at their current organization for 5 years or more.

About 80% of respondents reported earning between $25,000 and $124,999 annually, and almost one third (30%) reported earning between $50,000 and $99,999 per year. Overall, almost 97% of respondents reported at least some level of satisfaction with their current salary.

In terms of sectors and activities, almost half the respondents (49%) reported working at a for-profit organization. Also, 39% responded that they worked primarily in energy efficiency, closely followed by utility scale solar (27%) and residential, commercial, or industrial solar (18%). Almost forty percent (38%) of respondents indicated that their main activity was professional services, which includes work in areas such as real estate, finance, or consulting. Finally, over half the respondents (54%) are employed in a managerial position.

When asked if they had observed or experienced barriers to diversity or inclusiveness in the clean energy industry, 50% or more of every demographic subgroup, except for those identifying as white or Caucasian, indicated that they had.

When asked to indicate what level of support for diversity and inclusiveness that each respondent has experienced in the industry on a scale of 1-5, 87% of respondents reported a 3 or higher. Nevertheless, respondents overwhelmingly (92%) indicated that there is room for improvement in the industry.

Additionally, after some of the multiple-choice questions, the survey asked a related open-ended question to allow respondents to give a more specific response to each question. To quantify the responses to these open-ended questions, the responses were grouped by their general theme. Overall, the most common theme was discrimination, which included both due to race and due to gender.

NCSEA continues to explore opportunities to increase diversity within the clean energy industry, and we encourage those interested to stay tuned to our blog and website, or reach out to Jordan Jones at jordan@energync.org.

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