Rigzone Poll: Age Discrimination a Concern in Oil and Gas

Rigzone Poll: Age Discrimination a Concern in Oil and Gas
Two-thirds of poll participants report first-hand experience with age discrimination.

Rigzone: What options do you have if you believe you’re the victim of age discrimination? Are there any steps before simply contacting an attorney?

Connolly: Review your company’s handbook policies and be sure to follow the internal procedures for reporting. Note to employers: If you do not have such policies, you need to have them drafted. If you do have such policies, you should be updating them yearly in accordance with federal, state and local laws and regulations, which change from time to time. This is especially true when there is a change in the administration.

Rigzone: How can individuals ages 40 and above make themselves less likely to experience age discrimination?

Connolly: Everyone in the workplace can interrupt bias against older workers by not playing into those biases.

For example, we have all heard from our co-workers, “don’t get old, it is no fun” or “I cannot stand and speak for an hour now that I am older.” These comments in the workplace affirm the stereotypes about older workers.

Instead of accentuating the negatives, accentuate your positives. If you are 40 or older, remind those around you that you still frequently skydive, do trapeze, run marathons, etc. Comments like these are sure to interrupt biases.

Most importantly, never stop learning. As Henry Ford once said, “Anyone who stops learning is old whether at 20 or 80, and anyone who keeps learning stays young.” Continuing to learn keeps you relevant no matter how old you are.

Goodrow: If you can, find opportunities to publish or teach in your field. Make sure you are up to date on personal and professional technology relevant to your field. New apps, software and tools like tablets, robotics, and artificial intelligence interfaces evolve constantly in all industries. If you’ve been out of work or consulting from the sidelines for more than a few months, be proactive about keeping up your skills. Geophysicists and geologists work with Big Data daily and partner with programmers to manipulate and evaluate data. Machinists are now largely programmers of specialized computers. Landmen in the field have to use satellite-based communication and monitoring. Everyone at the rig or in the refinery or field is expected to have a Smartphone and use it for work and play, and work apps are increasingly designed to build on fun skills used in personal technology.

If you are currently interviewing, craft a resume highlighting concrete experiences and skills that are relevant. Downplay or even eliminate jobs you held in the 1980s and 1990s that are not relevant now. Don’t include years of graduation or years of employment except for recent activity.

EDITOR’S NOTE: To learn more about how countries outside the United States address age discrimination, check out this collection of summaries of anti-ageism laws worldwide at the agediscrimination.info website.


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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.

Mel Robinson  |  August 01, 2019
DISCRIMINATION in the work place SUCKS whether it is age, gender or racial.
Mike Black  |  December 17, 2017
It is not just companies but also countries. In the Oil & Gas industry most countries stop the work permit at 55-60 years old. No matter how much experience you have, if you cannot get a work permit then you cannot work.
GVB  |  December 15, 2017
No question, age discrimination is alive and running wide. It's very destructive and often criminal. There are several issues involved here. In terms of hiring, my perspective is it resides in the HR departments. These people do not have the knowledge nor the experience to; locate, hire, and interview. They don't know what the manager is looking for. Both on the soft side and necessary skill sets & experience. They simply pull up their canned questions - it's about as far as they can take it. We need change. A great start would be for the hiring exec's' and managers to pull up there paints and take charge. Only they know what they need and should be smart enough to set aside any bias. Let HR explain benefits and relocation if applicable.
Mary J Cinotto  |  December 15, 2017
Definitely experienced a group layoff of us over 55s in the last job.
Mark mcmurtry  |  December 13, 2017
What I see the problem is out there the companies are putting young inexperience college grades in charge of hiring the right people for the job. And what they have done is set up hiring criteria with the computers that if they don't have at least a 2 year degree then that resume/cv is automatically rejected and deleted from the system. Now they will not admit to this, but never the less this is what is going on out there for seasoned veterans of the oil field.
michel reynal  |  December 13, 2017
the most delighting thing is to be laid off then called again a few months later: " we definitely need someone with your expertise, we are sorry, we did not realize you were so engaged in different matters etc.." of course, your answer is: sorry, i am with another company now, you placed more value in compliance than creativity and expertise, just hire a greenhorn now
C  |  December 13, 2017
If a company wants to discriminate because of age, there are ways to do it without asking how old you are. Most applications require a birth date. Your age can be calculated in less than 10 seconds. Then the company can conveniently state that you do not match the skills they are seeking. I have never been told I am over-qualified.
David Curry  |  December 12, 2017
It doesn't really matter what the rules are regarding age based discrimination, it happens every day. I'm 51, 25 years in the marine industry, Chief Mate license, full offshore DP, experience on cable layers, construction ships, drill ships, semis. Ive posted resumes/cv's with damn near every company I can think of. 21 months and counting since I've worked offshore.
Aubrey Bratton  |  December 12, 2017
Hell yes Age Discrimination is very alive and well in the oil and gas industry. Only thing is the HR departments always call it something else just to stay out of court. That are not complete idiots!!!!!!!!!
Brian Fitzgerald  |  December 12, 2017
I'm 61 and am only somewhat concerned about this problem. With the retirement of the baby boomers and reduced immigration and falling birth rates, there is a looming shortage of workers in general in any western economy. Add to this the need to have a diverse work force of different ages, cultures, sexes, skills and personalities, you have as a minimum the need to retain some older workers to mentor the young. I am optimistic that this means I can work as long as I wish. Over the years I have heard the oft repeated comment that they are looking for someone "young and aggressive". However, as often, I have watched such individuals wreck organizations. In the interim I have found that consistent positive results can be delivered, regardless of the process, more in the mode of the "turtle than the hare".