There are a couple of contributing factors to these views including: a disconnect between what oil and gas executives think young people want from a career and what they actually want, a lack of awareness about the industry and the careers that power it, and a substantial gender gap. Only 24% of women between 16 and 35 find industry jobs appealing, while 54% of men in the same age range find them appealing.
Interestingly, younger generations actually hold fairly traditional career priorities. When asked which three considerations are the most important in selecting a future career, both Millennials and Generation Z, as whole, prioritized salary (56%), good work-life balance (49%), job stability (37%) and on-the-job happiness (37%).
In contrast, oil and gas executives expected the leading careers drivers for young people to be salary (72%), technology (43%), good work-life balance (38%), and the opportunity to try new roles (28%). They overestimated the allure of technology for young people while undervaluing work-life balance and stability.
Further, executives do not seem convinced of the industry’s ability to deliver on some of the leading factors that attract young people to a career. While 92% of executives agreed salary is a strength of the industry, 37% said good work-life balance is an industry weakness and 61% said job stability is an industry weakness.
“There are a number of changes companies can make to improve their ability to recruit and retain quality employees, but overcoming this perception challenge will require much more substantial transformation,” said Rachel Everaard, US Oil & Gas People Advisory Services Principal, Ernst & Young LLP. “Companies need to embrace the workforce of the future and evolve to better serve current and prospective employees.”
Technology will play a crucial role in revolutionizing the industry’s workforce, impacting both the number and type of employees needed. For example, companies can implement digital automation to do a range of repetitive tasks that currently require staff time. In turn, they can quickly and inexpensively adjust to a smaller hiring pool by focusing their recruiting efforts on qualified individuals for key roles.