Published: 24 March 2020
Short term uncertainty may have an impact on the oil and gas workforce, but the industry should also consider the longer-term effects of digitalization and the energy transition on talent
These trends are shifting demand for skills and influencing perceptions
Progressive stances and steps on decarbonization, digitalization, and openness for discussion are key to employee engagement
This is especially the case for newer entrants and those with up to 10 years in the industry
The oil and gas industry is facing significant short-term uncertainty, but it also faces longer term challenges as it enters a transformative decade driven by digitalization and decarbonization. Understanding evolving perceptions within the industry’s workforce will be key to navigating these.
Significantly, the outlook of newer entrants differs in many areas from people who have been in the industry for decades, according to New Directions, Complex Choices, DNV GL’s research on the outlook for the oil and gas industry, assessing sentiment, confidence, and priorities for 2020 among more than 1,000 senior professionals.
In both the short and long term, it is essential that the industry understands these differences, especially regarding the specific skills that the industry will need in the coming years.
Widespread digitalization has shifted the focus on specialist talent towards digital skills. Among respondents to DNV GL’s research – undertaken in October/November 2019 – artificial intelligence (AI) and data specialists were expected to be the second most in demand types of workers in 2020 – and the number one for North America – from a list including all aspects of oil and gas operations. Software developers were also sought after, ranking fifth overall. Project managers, risk management professionals, and subsea engineers rounded out the top five skills expected to be in demand for 2020.
Changes that can draw a new generation
To gain insights into the evolving workforce, DNV GL’s research considered how the views of newer entrants differ from those in the later stages of their careers.
The first group (who we call ‘Shorter Tenure’) have 10 or fewer years’ experience in the industry, giving indications about the perspectives of future leaders. Those with more than 30 years’ experience (who we call ‘Longer Tenure’) represent the views of today’s leaders.
The research suggests that progressive stances and tangible steps forward on both digitalization and decarbonization can help to engage younger talent.