Human Capital Strategies Necessary to Address Future Oil, Gas Challenges

Talent management strategies of the past are no longer sufficient to address the complex and dynamic workforce challenges the oil and gas industry faces today and will face in the future.

This was the focus of a webinar hosted by business conference creator Hanson Wade, in which leaders from human resource firm Mercer and Halliburton Company shared insights into how to meet short-term needs without jeopardizing long-term success.

In looking at workforce demographics, Philip Tenenbaum, senior partner and global leader of Mercer’s energy vertical, revealed global differences. For example, Asia has a young workforce, while the United States, Canada and Europe have more workers near retirement age.

“In 2025, there is still projected to be a shortage in critical jobs, even though lower oil prices has reduced talent demand,” said Jay Doherty, cofounder of Mercer’s Workforce Sciences Institute.

While there’s a substantial shortage in regions such as Russia, Kazakhstan, Libya, India, Latin America, the United States, Canada and Asia, there is a substantial surplus in Australia and Europe. And aside from petroleum engineers, there is a substantial surplus of other engineers globally.  

“Substantial shortages in Russia are driven largely by an aging workforce, not unlike the shortages in North America,” said Doherty. “Shortages in Latin America are a result of demand growth.”

Mahesh Puducheri, vice president of human resources for Halliburton, said though the company has made adjustments in its workforce, like other oil and gas companies, it has learned lessons from the past.

“This industry is notorious for not managing human capital on a long term basis,” Puducheri said. “We need to look outside the industry to hire people with different skillsets and teach them about oil and gas. We must be willing to change our approach.”

Puducheri also mentioned that during the downturn, Halliburton is continuing partnerships with universities on joint technology development programs.

“Other areas where we decided not to cut back was our leadership and development programs,” he said. “At Halliburton, our primary focus is cutting discretionary spending. We didn’t want to cut our investment in people, so we didn’t cut training or leadership development.”

Halliburton’s focus is on the frontline level for leadership development because all future executives start there, said Puducheri. 


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Clausen  |  October 17, 2015
Sounds wonderful when asked what should be done....such as hiring out of the industry for different skill sets, and I loved the comment about not cutting training or leadership development, hah! When the industry was booming, that was certainly not my experience in trying to get work at any of the Energy companies. You get a good slap on the back for appearing intelligent. Not reality on the entry side of the industry!