The oil and gas industry is facing a major shortfall of resources. That resource is not oil or gas. There are abundant supplies of oil and gas worldwide, especially in the United States. The resource that is severely lacking in the O&G industry is competent technical leaders in the exploration and production part of the oil and gas industry.
There are several reasons why there is such a dearth of technical leaders in exploration and production in the oil and gas industry. Some of the reasons are demographic changes, others are economic reasons, and others have to do with a lack of training and promotion within oil and gas companies.
The oil and gas industry faces a significant brain drain in the coming years. Many experienced and knowledgeable technical leaders in exploration and production are set to retire within five to seven years. This brain drain can have dramatic impacts on oil and gas companies worldwide. Once these experienced workers are lost, it can be hard to replace them, especially since younger workers with experience are hard to find or difficult to train.
The boom and bust cycle of the oil and gas industry has also led many talented technical leaders to leave oil and gas for more stable sectors. The constant fluctuation in the oil and gas markets has led companies to downsize during the downturns. After being laid off, many technical workers are reluctant to return to the industry that previously laid them off.
Many companies also lack the knowledge or approach internal promotion and training of technical leaders in exploration and production the wrong way. A severe shortage of skilled technical workers in E&P means that oil and gas companies must look for workers outside the box who can be trained and developed. Codifying the knowledge from veteran employees is another smart approach that successful companies use to create a storehouse of knowledge that can be passed from senior employees to the more junior ones.
Developing and recruiting top talent for leadership in exploration and production is challenging now, but it is not impossible. Companies must find ways to mentor their young employees and train them to become the leaders of tomorrow. Candidates that are driven and want to learn are the ideal candidates to become the next technical leaders in E&P. By leveraging the knowledge of their senior employees, recruiting non-traditional candidates, and selecting driven individuals, oil and gas companies can still find and develop top technical talent in E&P and avoid facing a staffing shortage that is looming in the coming years.