Skip to main content

Wastewater Demographics and Effective Workforce Management

Buy Article:

$17.50 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Or sign up for a free trial


One only needs to look around this convention to understand the reason for this session. The upper ranks of most wastewater utilities consist predominantly of white males. Most of the industry's current upper level managers came from the most populous generation this country has had. That generation was followed by the least populous generation of the 20th Century:

As a result, there are currently a large number of Traditionalists and Baby Boomers that are or will soon be able to retire. However, with the small size of the following generation, our industry could experience a large and sudden wave of retirements with a very tight replacement labor pool. Adding to the problem is the fact that the wastewater industry underwent a substantial unit staffing reduction during the '90s (a 30% reduction from 1990 to 1999 in the AMSA surveys).

In addition to the problems that leanly staffed wastewater utilities will have in replacing retiring managers from a thin labor pool, these utilities, already significantly less diverse than the Nation's workforce, will be hiring from an increasingly diverse labor pool whose expectations and desires in a workplace may be quite different than the one fashioned by current managers.

This paper will present some of the research being performed on this topic in the WERF/AWWARF funded project “Succession Planning For A Vital Workforce In The Information Age,” including an examination of the United States' current and projected labor force, the water and wastewater utility labor force and a brief overview of the survey performed by the research project to provide more detailed information regarding the wastewater workforce. Finally the paper will conclude with some comments on diversity and identify actions that utility managers need to take to insure that their utility is prepared for and can take advantage of this coming personnel turnover.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2003-01-01

More about this publication?
  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

    A subscription to the Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation includes access to most papers presented at the annual WEF Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) and other conferences held since 2000. Subscription access begins 12 months after the event and is valid for 12 months from month of purchase. A subscription to the Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is included in Water Environment Federation (WEF) membership.

    WEF Members: Sign in (right panel) with your IngentaConnect user name and password to receive complimentary access. Access begins 12 months after the conference or event
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • About WEF Proceedings
  • WEFTEC Conference Information
  • Learn about the many other WEF member benefits and join today
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more