Volume 24 Number 7
  • ISSN: 0263-5046
  • E-ISSN: 1365-2397


Deidre O’Donnell, managing director, Working Smart discusses three research projects undertaken by her company investigating (1) what the E&P industry is looking for in terms of graduates, (2) university and student perceptions of, and relationships with, the E&P industry and (3) trends in the use of consultants. Few personnel managers will be unaware of the looming personnel challenges due to the demographics of our industry, as illustrated by the age profile of SPE members. 50% of industry employees are estimated to become eligible to retire within the next 13 years, and this is probably an under-estimate if preferences for early retirement and/or late-career lifestyle changes are considered. A key reason for the shortage of young professionals is the historically cyclical nature of our business, resulting in several troughs in profitability such as after the 1999 oil price collapse and slow down in the global economy. Many would say that the problem has been exacerbated by kneejerk reactions by companies, including freezing graduate recruitment programmes and mass-layoffs of experienced personnel, many of whom have become disillusioned and moved permanently to other industries. Most forecasts now indicate a sustained high oil price which, combined with several other economic and geopolitical factors, indicate a buoyant and stable E&P market for the foreseeable future. Many oil and gas companies and service suppliers are struggling to adequately source and manage the workforce skills required for their current business, never mind the growth opportunities. To resolve this problem, we must address the different challenges across the complete spectrum of experience levels, including graduate recruitment, skills management, staff retention, and the optimal use of knowledge and experience.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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