In November 2018, Rigzone released a hiring trends survey for the oil and gas industry. The vast majority of hiring managers (70.1 percent) said they plan to recruit more people in the next six months, and 65 percent of HR professionals said they recruited more candidates in the first half of 2018 than in the second half of 2017.
While oil and gas positions continue to open up, recruiters face unique challenges finding ideal candidates. Some of these issues are industry-wide problems, while others are niche to their clients. Let’s explore five HR challenges for the oil and gas industry and how it affects hiring and employee management.
Slow Hiring Times Make it Hard to Fill Positions
Time and again, one of the biggest challenges that recruiters face when filling energy positions is the average time it takes to hire. A 2017 Glassdoor survey found that the energy and utilities sector has one of the longest interview processes and hiring windows. It takes on average 28.8 days to move candidates through their interviews. The energy sector was beaten out for the longest interview process only by the aerospace and defense industry (32.6 days) and government positions (53.8 days).
The top candidates in the oil and gas field aren’t going to be on the market for long. Companies who are slow to interview and hire their employees could see their recruits leave to work for their competitors. Learn to utilize tools, like Facebook, to attract and directly connect with top talent for your positions.
Companies Are Entering the “Great Crew Change”
One of the most talked about HR challenges facing oil and gas companies is the “Great Crew Change,” or the realization that a large percentage of energy workers are set to retire in the near future. The vast majority of workers are either older than 55 or younger than 35 — and the older crew comprises almost 50 percent of the employee base.
HR managers are scrambling to train employees and prepare their organizations for the loss of the older workers. In the next 10 years, most energy sector companies stand to lose a significant chunk of industry knowledge as employees with decades of experience hang up their hats and retire.
Technological Advances Have Created a Skill Gap
Not only are HR managers scrambling to fill the spaces left by experienced retirees, they also need to keep up with changes in technology.
“Because of the nature of the oil and gas business, the rush to adopt cloud solutions, IoT connectedness, and machine learning is understandable,” Irina Slav writes at OilPrice.com. “It saves money, it boosts efficiency, and it makes work in the field and on the platforms safer.”
However, HR managers need to know how to hire for these AI and IoT skills. Human resource professionals who have spent their careers learning the oil and gas industry are now expected to evaluate the tech-savvy of potential candidates as well. This is creating a further skills gap in the field that many companies are desperate to fill.
Working Offshore Is Physically and Mentally Taxing
One of the most unique challenges that HR managers face when hiring for offshore rigs and other remote jobs is finding employees willing to commit to that lifestyle.
Working on an oil rig is hardly luxurious. Workers often work for 7-14 days at a time and live on boats near the rig. They are away from their families for weeks to months on end and often face difficult working conditions like extreme temperatures and risks due to weather.
Naturally, salary is one of the top requirements to lure candidates into the field. The oil and gas industry needs to pay well to bring people out into the field. However, other companies are working to make the experience safer and less extreme (with better hours and living conditions) in hopes of increasing interest in the work.
Energy Recruiters Struggle to Bring Women Into the Field
The harsh working conditions and predominantly male workforce make it hard for HR professionals to establish a gender balance within their companies. Oil and gas has the second lowest share of women in the workforce of any industry (at 22 percent) beating out construction at 11 percent. The field has a poor reputation of welcoming women and treating them equally, so many potential employees look for jobs in other sectors.
We’ve already seen that the oil and gas industry needs workers, and HR managers can’t afford to isolate 50 percent of the workforce if they want to stay competitive.
The oil and gas industry faces significant uphill challenges in the coming years, but most human resource professionals are up to the challenge. After all, the energy sector was built on innovation and we will keep moving forward.