Most news headlines and lobbying positions in the political arena have focused recently on the extensive layoffs in the oil & gas industry. The seemingly endless supply glut and downward pressure on oil prices have taken their toll to the tune of hundreds of thousands in job cuts in the industry. But another issue lies in wait, grown of the current economic climate—recruiting the next generation.
The oil and gas industry is facing a recruitment challenge of epic proportions. The volatility of the industry has created an environment where many big companies will go long periods on hiring freezes. And when the occasional round of layoffs occurs, much of the existing talent moves on, often to other industries. That results in ever-widening gaps in age and skill level. Rather than a steady stream of new talent, it comes in choppy, diminishing waves. This jeopardizes the process of disseminating information and perfecting collective knowledge.
The challenges don’t stop there either. The opportunity to hire new talent may be limited, but when companies are ready to bring new talent on, the latest generation of professionals entering the workforce may not have the interest the oil industry once saw.
Baby boomers, once the largest demographic, are aging out of the workforce. Millennials are the new majority, quickly overtaking the baby boomers in population size. For the oil industry, that means evolving to meet the needs and wants of a different generation.
Millennials, in general, have a much different outlook than their preceding generations. Concerned about the notion of climate change, many view the industry as old-fashioned, polluting, and part of the problem. Combined with rapidly-changing hiring trends and a reliance on social media, the industry is all but lost to the millennial job-seekers. As the industry assesses its need for talent, it will have to attract this generation by highlighting the steps the industry has and will take to become a greener tomorrow.