Digital Technology to Transform Oil, Gas Hiring Practices

Digital Technology to Transform Oil, Gas Hiring Practices
Industry insiders discuss the skill sets that oil and gas companies will need as they move towards digitalization.

The oil and gas industry’s effort to adopt digital technology not only will impact its daily operations, but its hiring needs as well.

The oil and gas industry must pursue digital technology for two reasons: an aging workforce and increased focus on safety, said Mike Weast, IT regional vice president with professional staffing firm Addison Group, in a statement to Rigzone.  As the majority of the workforce nears retirement, there is a need for an integrated strategy to attract millennials who possess the skills needed to manage the software systems that will replace manual and repetitive tasks with automated, rule-based decision-making, Weast commented.

Mike Weast
Mike Weast, IT Regional Vice President, Addison Group
IT Regional Vice President, Addison Group

“The fact that digitization allows for a streamlined process and scalability, oil and gas companies need to hire workers that will help them quickly transition their operations in order to keep pace with the world economy, which continues to adopt digital technology at a rapid rate,” Weast stated.

Oil and gas companies will need workers with certain skill sets to aid in their digital transformation, such as data scientists, software developers, business analysts and project managers.

“Software developers are the backbone of digital operations, as they write and test the code to build applications that will automate processes,” Weast told Rigzone. “Business analysts are another essential piece that gather the required information to support developers in writing specifications [and] project managers are necessary to ease the transition process and keep projects on time and within budget.”

Scott Leshinski, managing director with Huron Consulting, told Rigzone he sees the need for data scientists and for workers with management information systems (MIS) backgrounds. Jobs in finance, engineering and MIS functions all appear to be in demand, he said, adding that resumes are now being more closely scrutinized for these skills.

At a recent industry conference, an official with technology research firm Gartner discussed how digital tenacity will be critical for oil and gas companies looking to derive more value from digital technology. This included having the right leadership in place and making digital strategy core to a company’s business strategy.

A better use and complete understanding of data and data analytics often means doing more with less personnel, Darrel Fanguy, energy sector business development manager for Tessella, told Rigzone in an interview. Tessella is a global analytics and data science consulting firm.

With analytics programs automating manual processes, Fanguy believes that fewer oilfield and white collar workers will be needed in the future.

“From a skills point of view, it is not just about hiring fewer people, but transforming the approach to how skills are deployed, and how companies find and develop those skills,” Fanguy stated.

Going forward, he sees a much greater need for data scientists and technology-minded personnel that better understand automation and virtual communication.

“They will be fewer, but they will also be very different people,” Fanguy explained.

Whilst data analytics is a catalyst for this skills change, it is only one part of a major trend of a great crew change in the industry which already started, driven by opportunities from technology and a new generation of workers with a different mindset, Fanguy stated.


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Karen Boman has more than 10 years of experience covering the upstream oil and gas sector. Email Karen at


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Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.
Sean | Oct. 13, 2016
I like the article. The problem isnt so much with millennials having the knowledge, its half decent millennials getting the opportunity. The oil and gas positions are given to friends and family of the old people about to retire, which means more qualified people from similar disciplines (refineries) with more much more experience miss out like myself... I have been trying to get into oil and gas for 3 years and have a diploma in process plant technology. - Sean


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