The strategy of “set it and forget it” is over as rapid and sweeping changes in across the oil and gas industry demands adopting a forward-thinking approach to workforce management.
“We’re no longer chasing barrels, we’re chasing efficiency,” summed up the tone of ADIPEC in Abu Dhabi where top oil and gas executives discussed how best to make do with a lot less in the current oil price environment. The volatility in the oil and gas markets in recent years is likely a preview of the years to come. Perhaps nimbleness will be crucial to weathering these cyclical changes, particularly in managing human resources. The quality and strength of the workforce was a focus at the conference.
Upbeat on the subject was, among others, the British ambassador to Abu Dhabi, Philip Parnham who said, “Our companies are nimble and able to deal with price fluctuations and the challenges of the future.”
The biggest challenge may be to convince people under forty to enter the oil and gas industry where retirement of baby boomers is reducing skilled staff and where safety issues remains compelling, prompting the question of who wants to work in an industry that is not only often unsafe physically, but also financially unstable.
According to Deloitte, the oil and gas industry is bracing for a serious shortfall of experienced technical professionals over the next several years due to natural attrition. A 2011 survey by Schlumberger found that the industry will likely lose a net of 5,000 experienced geoscientists and petroleum engineers by 2014 as recruitment falls short of projected retirements.
Arnold Frinks Global HR director for Weatherford, one of the largest and most dynamic oilfield-service companies in the world, thinks that “we should continue to ensure that the industry will remain robust and will continue to attract new engineers and thinking.”
Keynote speaker, the American economist, Daniel Yergin said: “This is a critical time for the industry. We need to go back to basics. Everyone got used to $100 oil. Then it came back to a level that people never expected to see. The demand for oil is looking good. China’s demand will increase. The US will remain the swing producer. If legislation allows, it will be a crude exporter by the end of the year.”
According to Saeed Al Ahababi Civil projects manager of the Abu Dhabi national oil company, safety is a priority offshore in the Gulf along with welfare programmes and facilities for employees. Projects are challenged by location, environment and weather.
The Minister said: “We consider human resources a critical success factor. Managing challenges and constraints of safety, time, cost, efficiency and quality in a dynamic nature is our greatest strength, and hence we are always looking for effective partners. In the Gulf offshore projects are critical not only due to the nature of the projects which normally implies working with uncertainties and highly risky scopes. Due to the nature of the projects which normally involve working in remote areas, we consider human resources a critical success factor.”
According to Central European Staffing managing director, Agnes Wrodarczyk, “We now have an opportunity to create targeted programs that yield tangible results for our clients while anticipating the potential staffing needs of an emerging perhaps unconventional situation.”
Given the dynamic pace of change in the industry these days, solving these challenges could easily delineate between riding a wave of opportunity or sinking beneath it.
ADIPEC 2016 (The Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference) is one of the world’s biggest and most influential Oil and Gas exhibition and conferences. In 2015 there were 95,000 attendees, 23 national pavilions, 7000 delegates and including a full complement of oil & gas companies, technology suppliers and service companies.
Central European Staffing (CES) is a British Polish recruitment agency, established in 2004. CES recruit not only from the UK, but also from Poland and other Eastern European and Asian countries. One of the company’ main activities is the recruitment of skilled personnel for the engineering construction industry (coded welders, pipefitters, platers, mechanical fitters, riggers).