Report: Long-Term Focus Needed to Solve Oil, Gas Talent Crisis

The cyclical nature of the oil and gas industry is nothing new to seasoned industry professionals. However, with the most recent dramatic drop in crude oil prices which spurred CAPEX cuts and project postponements across the globe, industry experts see now as an opportune time to address long-term needs for talent.

According to findings from a recent KPMG and Rigzone report focusing on the talent crisis, the industry’s talent shortage began decades ago and will continue unless oil and gas companies develop talent management strategies that will sustain long-term.

Basically, the industry should learn from the past.  

Layoffs are the short-term, knee-jerk reactions to the busts of a cyclical industry. Instead, the report notes, companies should take a “long-term strategic approach to managing talent, identifying the skills they need now and for the future and finding the best people to meet those needs.”

Companies can do so by focusing on five key talent initiatives:

  • Define a strategic workforce planning model
  • Make the most of analytics
  • Manage third parties more actively
  • Safeguard knowledge
  • Rethink the employee value proposition

“Part of the reason the industry is having problems is that they’ve been overly reactive,” said Regina Mayor, principal and head of oil and gas, Americas, KPMG in the U.S. “They stopped hiring for about a decade during the late 1980s and early 1990s and it has created a massive gap in talent at a time when senior people are hitting retirement age.”

Recruiters and HR professionals play a huge role in the success of a company because they are tasked with getting the right people for the right jobs, essentially finding the right fit. Millennials are expected to be a large pool of talent to help take over positions left by Baby Boomers leaving the industry.

“I know of companies that have completely revamped their onboarding process,” said David Lee, vice president of the Americas for Rigzone. “They noticed that they were losing many of the millennials they had worked so hard to recruit because the process hadn’t changed in 20 years … it’s now more virtual, more mobile and they’re using automated training – and it’s working out well for them.”

Lee also noted that “oil and gas is the most challenging industry for recruiters.” Millennials have different expectations for what they want in a job and the industry is listening. The report revealed many oil and gas companies have ramped up efforts to attract talent by sponsoring programs and scholarships that enhance STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education as well as forging stronger relationships with universities and other training institutes.

While some recruiters are using the industry downturn as a time to snatch up top talent, experts in the report expressed an imminent need to look past short-term fixes to alleviate the long-term talent crisis in the oil and gas industry.


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