Finding the Best Talent Available in a Changing Sector
Recruiting in Oil and Gas as an industry is dynamic and evolving, and it’s heavily influenced by various current workforce trends. In 2024, there are conflicting opinions on the future of oil and gas, with some saying demand will likely fall quickly. However, others see a bright future ahead as technology and adaptive trends are coming to revitalize the sector.
According to the GETI 2022 report, an incredible 54% of the employees questioned said that they were considering a move to the renewable energy industry. Predicting upcoming changes and staying ahead of the curve means having the right people in your team to face challenges and drive innovation. To remain competitive amid industry demands and a changing environment, companies in this sector should be aware of and adapt to these six key trends to think about when recruiting in oil and gas.
Workforce Trends Affecting Recruiting in Oil and Gas
#1 A Shortage of Technically Skilled Workers in the Oil and Gas Industry
The Oil and Gas industry has historically relied on highly specialized technical skills, but there’s a growing shortage of workers with these qualifications. According to some experts, an ageing workforce, the speed of new technological advancements, image issues, and the inherently unique challenges of recruiting in oil and gas are all adding to the problem.
Undoubtedly, demand for oil and gas fluctuates due to changing attitudes to energy and the uncertainties of global events like the war in Ukraine. All of this uncertainty means that more oil and gas companies are seeking technically skilled employees who can provide long-term stability because of how adaptive they are to arriving technologies.
Having the right certifications and technical knowledge are essential when recruiting in the oil and gas industry, so these need to remain a priority even as other “soft skills” and the sciences that support the industry are developed. Many job descriptions for oil and gas engineers now describe these skills as key, regardless of seniority, but this may be coming at the expense of technical skills that remain essential.
#2 Changing Workforce Demographics
According to a report by KMPG, workforces in the oil and gas industry are ageing as companies find it harder to attract younger talent. In fact, by some accounts, only 12% of the global workforce is currently under 30, and this problem is set to grow. As the industry workforce ages, there’s a need to attract and retain a new generation of workers; otherwise, companies risk being left behind.
Oil and Gas companies are increasingly focusing on diversity and inclusion initiatives to create an appealing work environment for a diverse generation of workers. This is particularly problematic as traditional inflows for recruits are turning to focus on other industries, such as the announcement by the University of Calgary in 2021 that they were to close their oil and gas engineering program.
With an increasingly negative image among young professionals, recruiting in oil and gas means turning to outside experts to help boost interest. This involves companies accepting the necessity to change working environments and practices, including offering flexible work arrangements and remote work options to attract a younger, tech-savvy workforce.
It also means casting the net wider to consider skilled workers from new countries. However, in these cases a company will have to consider the additional cost of integrating training programs into their onboarding process to bring overseas workers into line with specific requirements.
#3 Social and Environmental Responsibility as Part of EVP (Employee Value Proposition)
“Going green” might seem unlikely with oil and gas at first, but it’s increasingly being considered a requirement among companies struggling to change potential applicants’ attitudes toward their work. With increasing awareness of climate change, more and more potential employees seek companies that ensure environmental responsibility and social impact.
Companies are being pushed harder when recruiting in oil and gas because of the need to replace workers who leave due to “climate quitting” (a company’s perceived lack of action on climate and social issues). According to one study, 1 in 5 respondents said they had rejected a job offer due to the potential employer’s ESG (environment, social, and governance) practices.
#4 Greater Risk-Averseness Among Applicants Found When Recruiting in Oil and Gas
Job security has long been one of the biggest reasons applicants cite when considering energy sector employment, with as many as 39% saying it’s a priority. However, due to the increasingly cyclical nature of the industry and concerns about job stability, applicants in the Oil and Gas sector may be becoming even more risk-averse. Equally, the salaries and opportunities available in the industry are also now less and less appealing for what remains a physically demanding and dangerous industry.
Companies are looking for ways to address applicants’ concerns about the future by offering competitive compensation packages, job security assurances, and opportunities for career growth and development.
As the cost of living looks likely to continue rising, giving employees more reasons to stay or potentially consider new opportunities with your enterprise might be more manageable for less. As a result, companies will likely turn their focus away from active candidates towards more passive ones, requiring a rethink regarding how candidates are approached when recruiting in oil and gas.
#5 The Importance of Work-Life Balance
Work/life balance is becoming increasingly important to employees in all industries, including Oil and Gas. According to the 2024 Global Culture Report by O.C. Tanner, 50% of workers in the oil and gas industry find their work to be exhausting, with nearly 40% saying they feel frustrated.
While the industry has always been seen as demanding, it is increasingly seen as at odds with the modern idea of work-life balance. The risk of burnout remains high for oil and gas employees, leading more companies to seek ways to reduce the risk of losing key workers.
BP is an excellent example of a company making efforts to promote healthier work habits as part of their job offers. They provide flexible working hours and locations, as well as their “Working Families” initiative, designed to improve the support offered to employees with family responsibilities.
#6 Strong Internal Talent Development Strategies More Key to Growth
Energy companies are now likely to prioritize internal talent development strategies rather than relying solely on recruiting in oil and gas. Strategic Talent Management helps to identify high-potential employees, and providing them with opportunities for growth and advancement can help foster a culture of innovation and long-term success.
By applying analytics and more tech-forward approaches to talent management, such as recruiting automation, companies can make better use of the talent they have to promote internally or spot gaps in the workforce earlier. According to INS Global founder Wei Hsu, “by advertising a strong culture of talent management and movement as part of the search process, companies can also boost their EVP and global image“.
Top Tips for Recruiting in Oil and Gas and the Energy Sector from an INS Global Recruitment Specialist
Up-skilling and Re-skilling
Forward-thinking oil and gas companies can invest in training programs to develop the technical skills needed within the industry. Recruiting in oil and gas is expensive because of the specific skills required, so it may often be more cost-effective to manage internal progression.
By recognizing the changing skills required in the energy sector, companies can better invest in up-skilling and re-skilling to train existing employees or attract new talent with the specific technical expertise needed to move forward. This can come in the form of collaborating with educational institutions and industry associations, which can also help bridge the skills gap.
In one such example, BP announced that it was providing all of its workers with access to a learning and personal development program portal in 2024, aiming to improve how it re-skills and upskills current employees and reduce the demand for new recruits. Going forward, internal initiatives like this may be the way that other companies stay competitive.
International Recruiting and Mobility
Exploring a wider array of global talent pools can offer enhanced opportunities for international assignments and better attract diverse expertise. Thanks to new tools in the workplace that enable remote work and international collaboration, it’s never been easy to search new horizons for the right talent.
Video interviews or more use of AI in the screening and selection process can help to streamline applications when recruiting in oil and gas like in any other industry. Given the increased distance and volume of applications, this is particularly useful for companies hiring globally.
There are also multiple courses and programs designed to boost the ability of an HR team to recognize and promote existing highly-skilled talent within an organization. By investing in the people who will manage talent, companies can ensure long-term decision-making that reduces the need to hire to deadlines.
Working with Government Initiatives
Collaborate with government programs and incentives that support workforce development and oil and natural gas industry skills. Organizations are launching massive programs, such as the UK-based ECTIB’s 87 million pound program designed to improve the presence of key skills and expertise in the industry. As a result, companies can benefit from increased funding and new talent acquisition channels when recruiting in oil and gas.
Integrate Better Approaches to Younger and More Diverse Applicants
Connected to all of the above, by integrating new digital approaches into the hiring process, like using social media for job posting or highlighting employee benefits that promote work-life balance and a good company culture, companies can reverse the aging process of their workforce and bring in new workers with new ideas.
Companies recruiting in oil and gas should promote flexible scheduling, remote work options, and wellness programs to help employees maintain a healthy work/life balance. Providing support for mental health and stress management is also crucial.
INS Global’s own recruitment specialists have been considering the question of how to attract younger workers for some years. Accordingly, it all comes down to how employees are approached in the beginning.
Companies can show themselves as particularly attractive to the technologically skilled and diverse workers of today’s global market. This is possible by demonstrating a tech-forward EVP through social networking platforms and not simply relying on job boards.
Bringing in more ecologically conscious values into your EVP can also help attract and retain top talent. As a result, oil and gas companies should take steps to communicate their commitment to sustainable and responsible operations. By doing so, they can align themselves with more socially conscious prospects.