Predicting future supply and demand has always been a central concern of the Oil and Gas industry. As we ease into a post-COVID world, this type of forecasting is essential not just for resources, but also for the oil and gas workforce talent that will be needed in the coming years.
Simply put, the emerging generation of young workers is not as likely to be drawn to O&G careers as past generations. In fact, 62% of Gen Z respondents consider O&G careers to be “unappealing.” Even among engineering and IT students, the attractiveness of a career in O&G has slipped over the past decade from 14th to 35th in their industry preference.
The reasons for this are varied: Many young people view O&G as a declining sector that will eventually be replaced by renewables. Others may feel that a greater degree of innovation is taking place in green energy. The industry also has a reputation for gender disparity, with women making up only 15% of the industry. Promotions may often hinge on relocation. In the tech sector, new and emerging fields are being viewed as “technologies of the future.” And, for young workers in particular, a career that might take them to Houston or West Texas might not be as appealing as one that may lead to Silicon Valley, Boston, or Austin.
This combination of factors presents the potential for a future talent shortage within the industry. The seriousness of this shortage may be further exacerbated by the fact that many of the skills needed — such as AI, data science, design thinking, and data analytics — require skillsets that existing workers may not have.
While it’s challenging to change the younger generation’s perception of the industry, there are tangible things you can do to strengthen the appeal of your company in particular. It begins with embracing an organizational change management strategy that updates traditional HR operating models, helps current workers attain new skills, and articulates a positive message that positions your firm as one that is proactively embracing new ideas.
Part of this strategy should be to strengthen your organization’s emphasis in areas that are particularly important to the next generation of candidates:
1. Promote A Sense Of Balance
While many companies feel that working with “the latest cutting-edge technology” is a big draw, today’s graduates have additional priorities. Salary is top of mind, followed by a sense of work-life balance. Employers need to find ways to support their employees’ personal interests. This is particularly true for those who may be relocating. Taking steps to help employees assimilate into their new community, such as volunteer days and involvement with local organizations, will help.
In addition, recognize that different generations are motivated by different things. Develop agile compensation and benefit plans that have the ability to shift to meet the needs of both older and younger workers. These may include flexible schedules, remote work options, and earned paid sabbaticals.
2. Embrace Advanced Technologies
For the O&G industry, this begins with promoting a sustainable future and the diversification of energy sources. But it also means leveraging automation to drive efficiencies. This latter move will not only strengthen your appeal among new candidates but may also help reduce the need to constantly fill new positions.
Advanced workplace analytics can also be employed to help companies hire and grow in the areas that will be the most beneficial to them. These solutions can provide labor supply projections, labor demand forecasting, industry trend mapping, educational statistics, and other insights that can help shape your talent acquisition and retention efforts.
3. Amend Your Skillset Requirements
This involves two things: First, making sure that you are prioritizing the skillsets that will be needed in the digital era. Second, retooling the requirements for entry-level candidates to focus on the degrees, skills, and disciplines that will be needed on the road ahead, such as advanced analytics, machine learning, mobility, robotics, and other fields.
In addition to retooling the skills you look for in new recruits, efforts should be made to train employees to evaluate the bottom-line business impact of the technologies they pursue or recommend. Too often, a gap exists between business acumen and technical expertise. It’s imperative to build a culture that links the two.
4. Bridge The Gender Gap
In a sense, it’s a vicious circle. Because a gender gap exists, fewer women pursue O&G careers, and because fewer women pursue O&G careers, a gender gap exists. However, there are steps you can take to make your company more attractive to women candidates.
First and foremost, find ways to retain the women who are currently on staff. Pay close attention to the times when you see an uptick in resignations. For example, are more women resigning after being promoted to positions that hinge on relocation? Is there a way for employees to effectively do the job without moving to a more rural town or an international city? Evaluating these trends will empower you to make solution-focused decisions about requirements and expectations.
Next, to strengthen your appeal to new candidates and current employees, evaluate your current benefits, policies, and retirement packages with the goal of reducing the gender gap. Ensure that you’re offering equitable benefits and that your policies are designed to accommodate all of your employees.
Building the Next Generation’s Oil and Gas Workforce
The future of your company — and the O&G industry — depends on the ability to attract the next generation of talent. Success will go to those firms that are in tune with the skillsets, incentives, and work environments that attract new talent. By shifting organizational strategy, as well as major functions like HR and talent acquisition, companies can prepare themselves for the road ahead.
At Sendero, we have the expertise to help you make fundamental shifts in addressing business challenges. To find out how we can help you rethink operations, implement new workforce solutions, and plan for the future of talent in O&G, fill out the form below.