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HIGHER CALLING

The oil and gas industry’s recruiting problem is about to get worse

Brian Snyder/REUTERS
For a new crop of graduates, climate change is a main reason to avoid a job in the fossil fuel industry.
  • Tim McDonnell
By Tim McDonnell

Climate reporter

Ariana Forsythe first got interested in engineering in middle school, during a segment on renewable energy. The possibilities fascinated her; there were so many ways to produce electricity. When she set off for college, at the University of Texas in her hometown of Austin, she knew she wanted to study mechanical engineering.

But in her first few semesters, she felt bombarded by a narrower message: one focused on, and sometimes even delivered by, the fossil fuel industry.

“I almost switched out of the major because I was exposed to so much recruitment from oil and gas companies,” Forsythe said. “But people in my generation are just increasingly firm in the science that we need to reduce carbon emissions, and they don’t want to contribute to them. I have conversations all the time with friends who agree that they’d rather not work for an oil and gas company even if there were lots of jobs.”

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