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Skill shortages are a risk to the oil & gas industry’s sustainability. Competition for experienced workers is expected to be fierce. Just as industry and government are looking for market diversification solutions, demand-driven solutions for workforce concerns are also required to develop a larger pool of qualified workers.

Developing a global training strategy

Countries sustain a virtuous circle by matching training to labor market demands, providing opportunities for lifelong learning and using skills development to drive innovation and thus future job growth. In order to successfully link skills to productivity, employment creation and development, skills development policies should target three objectives: matching supply to current demand for skills, helping workers and enterprises adjust to change, and anticipating and delivering the new and different skills that will be needed in the future.

Subsequently, the ILO developed the G20 Training Strategy: “A skilled workforce for strong, sustainable and balanced growth” which focuses on building bridges between the world of education and training and the world of work. It explains why a skills strategy is needed, outlines a conceptual framework and assembles the essential building blocks of a robust training strategy- including the roles of the social partners.

Moving to greater reliance on local skilled workforces

Oil & gas companies are expanding operations into new and ever more remote geographic locations; as a result, companies are looking to build local skilled workforces so that they can rely less on expatriate services. However, efforts to decrease reliance on expatriate workers are difficult to implement in some situations, and nearly impossible in others where local skilled workers are simply not available. Without expatriate specialists to provide the necessary skills and services, many oil & gas companies may be unable to sustain current levels of technical expertise.

Attracting entry-level talented young people

Young people have many career opportunities other than the oil & gas industry. The harsh living and working conditions of those working in the E&P sector and a perception that the oil & gas industry is dirty and dangerous have damaged its ability to attract young talent. The industry needs to understand the work ethic of younger people. In general, the millennial generation has been characterized as adept at multitasking, but also as having a sense of entitlement, less loyalty towards organizations, and preferences for immediate benefits over long-term rewards. These findings suggest that the oil & gas industry can leverage the preferences and motivational patterns among young people of this generation through training courses designed to quickly advance the necessary skills.

Coordinating retention schemes

Oil & gas companies have planned internally and independently for their retention schemes. In order to meet the longer-term needs of the industry, retention policies should focus on catering to employees’ individual preferences, offering more comprehensive career development support and decent wages and working conditions. An oil & gas industry that attracts skilled young workers and women must have coherent policies and initiatives focused on advancing their careers. Companies should carefully examine what types of careers they offer their workers, in order to ensure that career development policies and plans are tailored to their needs. Over 85% of industry workers who participated in a survey cited providing “opportunities for career progression and personal development” as a high critical priority issue.

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