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Survey highlights need for digital experts

Published:  27 June, 2017

The oil and gas industry urgently needs digital natives – but the right people may not be looking at the sector as a potential career choice. That is one of the key messages from Petroplan’s second ‘Talent Insight Index’. Just over a third of respondents pointed to the growing need for IT skills, as technological advances combine with the need to reduce costs and improve efficiency to make the digital oilfield a reality.

Meeting this need will take a combination of recruitment of fresh talent from outside the sector, and upskilling of existing staff. The latter is something that will certainly be appreciated by the workforce, with opportunities to learn on the job a key benefit sought by both permanent and contract workers. With over three quarters of respondents actively looking for a job, thinking beyond salaries, health cover and pensions is critical to preventing oil and gas professionals being lured away to other sectors such as renewables or construction.

More than 2,000 industry professionals took part in the survey, including workers employed on a permanent basis, contractors and those out of work but actively looking for roles in the industry, across a range of disciplines and global oil hubs.

Despite the prolonged downturn on oil prices, industry sentiment remains buoyant, with the majority of respondents of the opinion that oil and gas is a cyclical industry, and almost forty percent predicting a recovery in the next two years. In fact, the downturn seems to have had some beneficial side-effects, with almost half of respondents seeing improved decision-making, followed by greater innovation and increased productivity.

Rory Ferguson, CEO at Petroplan, commented: “The results of the Talent Insight Index show a clear opportunity for both the oil and gas industry and specialist recruiters. Companies need to build an employer brand that stands out, by offering training and a variety of work opportunities to both existing staff and new hires, and contractors as well as permanent employees.

There is also a recognition of the significance that technology will play in the industry in the coming years, but companies will need to do more to attract and develop IT expertise, from graduates to mid-career professionals, who may never have considered the oil and gas sector. Recruiters will need to be proactive with their resources and networks to ensure that companies in our sector continue to be supported as the demand for talent starts to build again.”

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