Written by: Michael Sanches
The workforce may be anxious about an impending talent crisis – nearly half of all respondents to GETI 2019 were either quite worried or very worried – but for them the opportunity is bright.
The energy sector contains some of the most skilled individuals and teams in the world. It is a hive for talent and the extremely ambitious, with career progression being the leading reason why professionals choose the sector (GETI 2019). Luckily for them, a talent shortage means a seller’s labour market. But, can energy companies also use this ambition to address the looming crisis?
Possibly, but with talent attraction and retention difficulties, it will be the most forward-thinking energy companies that can do so, turning crisis to opportunity.
Take the oil and gas industry; since the downturn, the sector has been through significant changes with many individuals working in the sector being displaced or taking early retirement. In that time, digitalisation has taken hold, meaning those looking to rejoin the sector may need a skills refresh. Therefore, with some retraining, these talented individuals could add a wealth of experience back into the sector and help stem the skills shortage.
The retraining of existing employees was stated by 57% of nuclear, renewables, oil and gas, power and petrochemical GETI respondents as the best way companies can tackle the skills issue. In the energy sector, the World Economic Forum Future Jobs report 2018 cited that 54% of respondents need significant upskilling or reskilling by 2022. For these professionals, this could increase the chance of transferring between industries, as certain skillsets are needed across all sectors.
What’s at stake for companies if a skills shortage occurs? Over half of respondents said that decreased efficiency would be the biggest risk, followed by increased operating costs. So, when investing in training and upskilling, where should the focus lie? To figure this out, there needs to be an understanding of the current skills that are in a shortage.
GETI revealed that in the power sector, problem solving (29%) and leadership (19%) were the skills most in demand. Renewables, oil and gas, nuclear and petrochemicals are all telling the same story, with problem solving, leadership and process management all top priorities. In terms of demand for disciplines, engineering stood out miles above others.
There are training opportunities available that can help individuals learn additional skills. For instance, the DOB-Academy has developed a unique training course covering the technical aspects for the development of an offshore wind farm to prepare those wanting to re-train or re-skill to work in the sector. There are also many companies that offer extensive technical training facilities as options for candidates to get the re-training and up-skilling they need.
For example, Drilling Systems have technically advanced simulators that provide extensive assessment and training across three key disciplines within rig operations; drilling, well control and lifting. Organisations that offer this type of internal training or even mentorship programmes to employees are more likely to retain staff as it supports employee growth and progression.
For contractors, retraining or upskilling could provide an enormous opportunity to transfer sector or progress their careers. However, the best energy companies will also use these as tactics for talent acquisition and retention, and to plug their skills gaps. Although this talent shortage could be an imminent issue impacting the entire sector, if actions are taken now, then it could be an opportunity for many.
This post was written by Michael Sanches, Consulting Manager – Americas at Airswift