The geopolitics of oil and gas recruitment: Engaging a new generation

Having a large pool of dedicated, technical and – most importantly – available staff ready to seamlessly integrate into a specific oil and gas project is every chief executive’s dream.

The benefits of your project managers having constant access to a great team are obvious. It allows you to focus on the tasks central to you; expanding your energy company’s international presence, increasing profitability, maintaining the brand’s reputation, earmarking new territories that may prove to be financially viable into, and more.

You need your projects to be well-staffed. The better your pipeline of skilled and reliable talent, the better chance your current and future projects will be profitable, run smoothly and safely. Sadly though, not many are able to enjoy that luxury thanks to factors that have decimated the global engineering talent pool over the decades.

It’s a situation which is highlighted in the Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) report for 2019, where 17,000 workers across the spectrum of the energy industry gave deep insights into the current state of recruitment within the industry, amongst other subjects.

Download The 2019 Global Energy Talent Index

Visit the GETI site to download the report

Of those 17,000 respondents – from 162 countries and comprising 150 nationalities – 40% say a skills crisis is already here, with 28% believing it will happen over the next five years, despite the industry looking healthier and younger workers being attracted to the industry (81% of those aged 18-24 would pursue a career in the sector if they were entering now).

The problems energy companies are facing with recruitment are varied and numerous; not least when it comes to geopolitical factors and ever-shifting regulations in a world struggling with the impacts of climate change.

With so many internal and external pressures facing energy companies, what’s the best way for them to attract a new engineering talent and engage a new generation of workers?

The geopolitical pressures facing the oil and gas industry

Two devastating global recessions since the ‘80s, serious worries about climate change, falls in oil prices, older workers retiring with a dearth of talent following behind… Those are just some of the geopolitical factors that energy companies have had to fight over the decades, which have seriously impacted their ability to recruit.

Thought leaders from EY also underline in a very intricate case study, Navigating geopolitics in oil and gas, the enormous international, regional and regulatory compliances that chief executives are facing with each and every oil and gas project.

Diplomacy, global market factors, civil disruption, changes in technology, strict local labour laws and other motivations are incredibly complex for chief executives to navigate. How can they balance all of these problems as well as attract the very best in young, hungry engineering talent away from the competition?

The impact of the Great Crew Change

Workforce reductions made during the 2008 downturn to save money resulted in lost technical skills. This is also interestingly aligned with what is termed the Great Crew Change, a demographic shift where a large proportion of the sector’s ageing workforce retires with few younger specialist engineers around to take up the mantle.

It’s also essential to factor in how a change in traditional apprenticeship programs – that used to dominate the industry – have dramatically reduced, leaving a gap that is currently only going to be filled by looking outside of the industry. This is traditionally a weakness inherent in oil and gas hiring philosophies.

Whilst traditional disciplines are still in great demand, they need to be offset against a demand for expertise in technology and digital-based solutions. Cross-hiring from other industries that have embraced technology and utilised future solutions is one way to manage the Great Crew Change, especially as digital technology creeps more and more into the oil and gas engineering process.

A more optimistic ‘oil-and-gas mood’ alongside a market that has reset has allowed energy projects to, again, be at the forefront of investment. Of these projects, LNG seems to be leading the spend portfolio with at least five mega projects at final investment decision.

These projects feature a mixture of traditional and emerging locations, and will require similar expertise at similar timescales. These projects could be a starting gun for energy firms to find the best talent in a world that is looking to reengineer its workforce.

As GETI highlights, a huge amount of young, highly-skilled engineers are keen to work in the oil and gas industry. Working alongside a specialist energy recruitment firm with a global reach and access to the world’s top engineering talent allows you to focus on growing the business, exploring new international opportunities and focus on improving profitability while we curate and cultivate new and existing talent.

Our network also gives us a huge advantage, allowing our specialist recruitment team to stay ahead of any regional and international changes to regulations, labour laws, regulation grey areas and more to ensure you always have a strong recruitment pipeline of the best global talent available.

The Airswift Team, in partnership with Energy Jobline, compiled the GETI 2019 report, a definitive guide for workforce trends in the energy industry. Click the link below to download your copy today.

Download The 2019 Global Energy Talent Index

Visit the GETI site to download the report

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This post was written by Jason Goodall, Strategic Accounts Director at Airswift