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Training and Development: The Battleground for Attracting and Retaining Top Talent in the Oil and Gas Industry

Guest blog By: Don Shoultz, Head of Upstream Learning and Development, BP

Over the next 20 years, global energy growth is expected to be dominated by emerging economies, with primary energy use growing by nearly 40 percent*. As a result, the exploration and production (E&P) industry will be tasked with accessing hydrocarbons in new, more challenging frontiers. These challenges will require increased skills, capabilities and technologies across the world; meeting them starts with a disciplined, methodical and long-term learning and development plan.


Along with the steadily increasing global energy demand and fierce competition for talent among the region’s oil and gas industry sector employers, there are three additional factors driving the demand for progressive learning and development programs:

  • Experienced professionals are retiring and being replaced by younger, less experienced hires;
  • The complexity of the resource plays being explored and the rapidly changing portfolio of technology required to enable production; and
  • Nationalisation requires a new orientation to how the oil and gas industry engages and develops employees.


Bridging the Talent Gap

A sense of concern across the industry stems from the need to attract, retain, train and develop talent. A recent BP-sponsored Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Survey revealed an industry-wide desire for training.


Three-quarters (74.6 percent) of the survey’s participants stated that access to training and development programs is pivotal in their choice of role, and more than half (53.3 percent) said a lack of opportunities would be enough for them to consider leaving.


Fortunately, the industry is taking deliberate steps to close the talent gap while aligning and accelerating all areas of development.


Embracing New Ways of Learning

E&P becomes more complex each day, and the technology used by petro-technical experts continues to evolve at a rapid pace.


Considering 86 percent of all respondents said starting a career in oil and gas requires training, such development programs address a pressing need to cultivate and enhance deep geoscience and engineering capabilities.


Additionally, the data showed business skills are critical factors for career development and advancement. A holistic training and development program will enhance not just the way employees do their jobs, but ways in which they collaborate.


The complexity of work also creates the need to change the way we define “success” in learning and development. Gone are the traditional “transactional” means of measuring the number of classroom attendees or passing grades. At BP, we measure learning and development in terms of business impact and performance metrics.


Unlocking potential requires a blend of formal classroom training, on-the-job training, experiential learning and purposeful mentoring. Bearing in mind that 25 percent of respondents felt a lack of training is detrimental to their careers, we should continue to strengthen uniform standards, centering on a holistic and performance-based approach to learning and development across companies, organizations, universities and borders. The result: enhanced capabilities for the entire sector.


Focus on Emerging Markets and Building Global Capability

Every year, the E&P segment expands its geographic reach with new resource holders. As our scope of work expands in both complexity and geography, we seek to develop high-performing national employees through partnerships with National Oil Companies.


For example, major oil companies have historically partnered with in-country universities to better equip them with the knowledge, technology and expat expertise that are required for today’s workforce. Enhanced consistency will enrich the quality and depth of the education at universities in various emerging regions. We should seek more uniform standards and closer collaboration with universities to support focused, regional learning and development programs.


This broad collaboration with governments, resource holders and universities not only stimulates the local economy, but demonstrates a commitment to the areas in which the major oil companies operate. Together, we are better able to foster and encourage diversity of thought and workforce within the industry.


Nurturing talent and having an engaged workforce is a key to the oil and gas industry’s competitive advantage in the battle for talent. The challenge is to position E&P as the industry of choice by maximizing capability in established and emerging regions, increasing diversity and creating compelling long-term career paths built on life-long learning. Applying a long-term approach to employee development helps to strengthen continuity in the competencies, skills and, most importantly, performance needed for this vital industry to not just endure, but to thrive.


*BP Energy Outlook 2030

Category: Careers Advice, Job News, Recruiter News

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Our first LAGCOE experience exhibited for the first time at LAGCOE 2013.  The event took place at the Cajundome on the 22-24 October in Lafayette, Louisiana. 


The exhibition and conference has been a roaring success which welcomed hundreds of exhibiting companies from around the world.  The Careers Fair which we are very proud to have sponsored was well attended; it was a pleasure to meet lots of highly qualified candidates. 


Joe Jones, Business Development Executive for gave a very well received presentation on employment in the Gulf of Mexico.  He said: “The US is on course for energy independence with unconventionals and increased offshore exploration and production leading the charge.  Drilling activity in the Gulf of Mexico has increased dramatically over the past 12 months with current rates hinting that by this time next year there could be up to 54 deep water semi submersibles and drillships working in the region.” 


According to Joe the increase in activity can be attributed two main factors.  “Technological advances which enable drilling at extreme depths and temperatures have revolutionized the process by which oil is extracted in the region.”


Did you attend LAGCOE 2013?  We would like to hear your opinion.

Category: Events

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Visit our driving range at ADIPEC and further your career


Following on from last year’s most successful and busiest event, we are thrilled to be exhibiting at ADIPEC 2013.  The Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference which is held at ADNEC – the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre will open its doors on the 10-13 November 2013.

We are giving one lucky winner the chance to win a two night stay for two at the Viceroy Resort including a round of golf at Yas Links Golf Resort.  To enter the competition, visit the OilCareers driving range at booth 7234 and take part in our golfing competition!

This is the first time the event has been annualised and DMG::Events who organise ADIPEC are expecting to welcome over 51,000 visitors.  The event will also host an extensive conference programme which boasts over 235 speakers and over 50 sessions

ADIPEC is also holding a women’s only event which is a new special feature to the event. Women In Industry: A Journey to Leadership, is held on day 2 of ADIPEC and the session will take a closer look at the lives and careers of each of the three panellists.  The panel will be led by H.E Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of Development and International Cooperation, UAE and moderated by Eithne Treanor.  Each panel member will share their personal stories of success in the industry.

Under the patronage of HE Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community, ADIPEC is proud to present Young ADIPEC.  The programme which has been designed to support the existing school curriculum and develop an early interest among schoolchildren.

A visit to ADIPEC is a must to enhance your career, the event provides you with the opportunity to meet with potential employers and recruiters, to learn, develop and network.  The event has a dedicated Outdoor and Offshore section where businesses can showcase large scale heavy equipment. Decision makers within the Oil and Gas industry from the Middle East can access the exclusive Middle East Petroleum Club to hold private meetings and provides an opportunity for senior management to connect with peers.

Don’t miss out on vital opportunities, register to attend ADIPEC today and visit our booth 7234.

We look forward to seeing you next month!

Category: Events

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Disclaimer: Any views here do not necessarily reflect the views of OilCareers Ltd. As such we cannot be held responsible for the views expressed here or any actions taken as a consequence.