Future of oil and gas industry hinges on new generation

Who will take your job when you retire? Fill your shoes? Run your business? Work in the field? Is there anyone working at your office younger than 35? With an entire generation of oil and gas industry icons retiring soon – have we, in the United States, done enough to prepare our industry to move forward in the future to provide the country’s energy needs?

Last week the United Kingdom’s The Telegraph ran an interesting article called “Attracting ‘Generation Y’ to the Oil & Gas Industry.” The article was not the first on the topic that I’ve seen out of the UK — an interesting trend when you consider that the oil and gas industry in America – where the article is referring to – is doing largely nothing to attract a new generation.

This phenomenon of the main generation of oil and gas workers exiting the industry in the next five or so years is not a new one. Anyone in the industry could tell you this is one of the biggest challenges the industry faces next to regulations and hostile governments. What I found interesting in this article though – was how it defined who ‘Generation Y’ is and how the industry should be sold to them. While I suspect that this article was heavily slanted towards a specific oil and gas recruiting company – the information provided about the industry was enlightening.

An interesting challenge the oil and gas industry faces in recruiting ‘Generation Y’ workers (born between 1980 -1995) is that this generation has subliminally, and perhaps not so subliminally in recent years, grown up discussing the oil and gas industry primarily in regards to its failures and highly publicized disasters. New technologies and new discoveries in oilfields and shales rarely receive much time in the media like hydraulic fracturing and its often-claimed-but-not-proven link to water pollution, and air pollution do.

In a world where going green and renewable energy are the next big thing – seducing a generation that bounces from one fad to the next as quickly as Facebook updates its design – is not an easy task. Especially if those trying to do the seducing don’t understand how ‘Generation Y-ers’ think.

‘Generation Y’ is a generation that thinks on the go and makes decisions on the go. It’s a generation more generally aware of its surroundings and events than the previous generations – but also one that doesn’t dwell long on the details and facts.

Having grown up in the world of status updates, tweets, text messages and e-mails, everything they know, learn and process about the world can come in a 140 characters, a sound bite or be found on Google.

For this generation to fit into our industry, it also means that as the world and our country continues to diversify and be more inclusive, that the Good Ol’ Boys club that primarily runs the industry will reach out and become more inclusive as well.

The current oil and gas industry needs to promote itself not only as a necessity to the future of America’s energy (especially as renewable energy sources just won’t rise up to their hype for a long time) but also as a time-tested, stable, safe, environmentally conscious industry.

It’s time the oil and gas industry stopped only touting its need for a world with hydrocarbons and began imploring the future generation of workers ,including generations to come, that someone needs to take responsibility for the exploration, production, transportation and refinement of America’s energy. This will become more important as the political climate changes each season and the regulations get increasingly more stringent, and the oil and gas increasingly harder to obtain.

Help promote the industry to the future generation so that there will continue to be a future in energy development in this country.

What strides have you seen the industry make in regards to attracting a younger generation? What can they do better?


Source: SherWare Blog


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