Rabu, 30 September 2015


Why the Industry’s Success Depends on Engaging Young Talent
By Anjana Narayanan 30 Sep 2015

The workforce is any company’s biggest asset. In the current industry downturn, a pressing need for cost-reduction is forcing some companies to reluctantly cut workforce. But the history of the oil and gas industry shows that a reduction in the number of graduates entering the industry, coupled with an increase in the number of technically skilled professionals leaving the industry during downturns, comes back to additionally damage the industry when prices go up. Though it is hard to predict the timeline, there is not much dispute that prices will rise again, as the global demand for oil and gas keeps growing. What lessons can be learned from the past? And can the oil and gas industry use them to handle the crisis better this time?
Talent Retention by Employee Engagement

In a recent article, Lloyd's Register’s Vivien Broughton emphasized employee engagement as a great option to manage talent retention during downturn. She points out that higher employee engagement is directly related to talent retention.

The advances in communication technology since the previous prolonged downturn could also play a key factor. Telecommuting can decrease work facility costs, and as Broughton suggests, employees might be willing to work fewer hours or part time until the need for work hours for their project goes back up. This can help companies avoid losing trained technical talent to other industries. When professionals start building a career in a new industry, they're often unwilling to move back to oil and gas even when there is an upturn.

The downturn could also be a great opportunity for companies to encourage employees to diversify their skills, which can lead to better integration between different sections of an organization and help shatter the departmental silos that are often viewed as a deterrent for improving production efficiency.
What Happens to Current and Future Students?

If trained staff are facing a demanding situation, what happens to young engineers who are just entering the industry? In the June issue of The Way Ahead (PDF), SPE’s magazine for students and young professionals, SPE student chapter presidents from around the world voiced concern about the difficult odds of finding internships or jobs upon graduation. A decrease in internships should be taken seriously by the industry, as these are the entry points for the younger generation to enter the industry.

Studying to become a petroleum engineer can take up to 4 years, and a reduction in enrollment now, while not affecting the industry immediately, can certainly show up to hurt in 4 years’ time. What if the price of oil is high enough then to sustain more demand for talent? There is no time machine to turn back 4 years.

An infographic by Lloyd's Register (excerpted above) shows the demand for petroleum engineers increasing by 39% by 2022. It warns that as of now, 40% of STEM graduates in the UK and 70% of STEM graduates in the US are working in non-STEM occupations. When STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, it is clear that the scientific industry, generally considered better paying than careers in arts or other fields, is missing out on a significant number of students who started out with a fascination for STEM subjects.

The oil and gas industry will benefit by sharing with students the exciting and interesting challenges available in the industry, the global travel opportunities it can provide, and the good compensation it can offer to encourage them to consider a career in petroleum engineering. The current downturn should not affect this message, as a recent survey by Rigzone shows that millennials in the oil and gas industry value a good challenge more than money in a job. When asked about the most important factor when considering an employer, survey respondents ranked money as the third factor, while choosing challenging projects as first and opportunities for advancement as second.

Price cycles happen to many industries—agriculture is dependent on weather and natural conditions, and the I.T. industry goes through bubbles during major technology changes. What remains constant is the need for expertise and the inquisitiveness and interest of human minds in solving challenges. Reaching out to the younger generation can be key to connecting these two. A proven approach to cost-reduction is innovation, and young minds are great fields for it.

Anjana Narayanan is Editorial Manager for The Way Ahead.

Source: http://spe.org/news

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