Ghosan: Redouble Efforts to Make Industry Attractive to Young People

"One of the major challenges our industry is facing is the shortage in skilled professionals," said Huda Ghoson, general manager of Training and Development, in her opening remarks at the World National Oil Congress held June 23 in London.

In her speech titled "Workforce Development: An Enduring Legacy," Ghoson called upon organizations to redouble their efforts to make the oil and gas industry attractive to young people.

She went on to address four challenges. "The world is more sensitive than ever before ... to the impact the oil industry can have on our fragile natural environment," said Ghoson of pressing environmental issues. She said Saudi Aramco has long been a leader in environmental stewardship.

The second challenge relates to oil resources and the fact that oil demand is expected to increase over the next two decades. "This means that the oil industry will be expected to develop additional production capacity," she said.

The third challenge focuses on integrating technology into business practices. "A significant portion of production will be coming from relatively small and mature fields that are also likely to have complex geology and production mechanisms," said Ghoson. She believes that "progress would be best made by sharing ideas and experiences, and making greater efforts in collaborative technology development." Through this, collaboration will help address the fourth significant challenge which is the shortage of a skilled and technologically agile work force.

"It is obvious that the business is best served by employees who possess the passion for continuous personal growth and development and lifelong learning, whatever their careers and professional interests may be," said Ghoson.

She concluded by saying, "With proper investments in technologies, partnerships and people, these challenges can be surmounted, as we have always done in the past."

Ghoson went on to share Saudi Aramco's integrated employment value proposition strategy, which enables Saudi Aramco to attract, develop and retain top talent. "The strategy combines three factors in a balanced approach starting from hire to retire," she said.

These three factors involve building on the solid reputation of the company; investment in training, development and management of people; and the total pay package designed to satisfy every stage of an employee’s personal and professional growth.

Ghoson highlighted Saudi Aramco's talent management and development strategy, which is designed to provide a continuous flow of talent regardless of labor market conditions, skill shortages and swings in oil prices. The strategy uses blended learning to integrate various learning techniques and delivery methods such as technology simulations, knowledge sharing and online communities of practice in addition to standard instruction.

She mentioned that since Saudi Aramco draws 87 percent of its work force from Saudi Arabia, the company has a special relationship with students, educators and educational institutions throughout the Kingdom. To complement these relationships, Saudi Aramco also has partnerships with international universities, training companies, government agencies and private businesses around the globe.

"Together, they allow Saudi Aramco to share ideas, experiences and knowledge as well as ensure the skills of the next generation meet the business needs of today and tomorrow," she said.

Ghoson concluded by stressing the importance of the industry in providing energy to the world, "while protecting the environment, advancing research, sharing best practices and teaming with the community, education sector and governments to improve the social and economic well-being of people everywhere."