Attracting the right talent in oil and gas

A balanced approach to talent management can help oil and gas companies differentiate.


Stephanie Rogers, Managing Director within Accenture’s Resources Operating Group identifies the changing talent requirements in the oil and gas industry, and the challenges companies are facing in both identifying and retaining high quality talent.

How is talent changing in the oil and gas industry?
Talent has always been important but is fast growing as a key lever to manage and run efficient business operations. The most dominant themes today are:

  1. Embracing “Total Talent” by incorporating the full talent spectrum as part of your talent strategy - both the employee base and contingent workers. Over 50% of the workforce today is made up of contingent workers.

  2. Acknowledging the need to develop and attract STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Math) talent to support business demand. Evolving company attractiveness and aligning talent acquisition and development programs for both the new and experienced workers. The days of the lifetime employee are less and less.

  3. Harnessing digital - as more technology enters both upstream and downstream, the way work gets done changes. It also impacts learning programs and creates the need for leaders to re-think which talent data and insights can and need to be monitored.

What are some of the skills expected of the oil and gas worker of the future?
Digital technologies have driven a shift in skills across both technical and managerial disciplines. The oil and gas industry now seeks data analysts and scientists who are able to collaborate with remote teams and make data driven decisions. The appreciation for deep technical expertise continues but may not be sourced in the same manner (i.e. building the skills vs. buying or renting).

What are the some key challenges facing oil and gas companies in the talent sector?
Currently, I spend the most time with our oil and gas clients on the following topics:

  • Operating Model:
    Traditional HR models are not keeping up with the needs of today’s businesses – and this includes oil and gas. According to Accenture Research, 75% of HR Executives say that ensuring their operating models provide a competitive advantage is a major challenge. Companies need to confirm they have HR and Talent operations that serve the current economic conditions and can also yield growth in the future.

  • Attractiveness of the Oil and Gas Industry and STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Math)
    There is an ongoing struggle in many industries to capture the STEM talent desired within undergraduate and graduates programs. Many oil and gas companies are responding to this by considering both generational attributes (rotational programs, international assignments, training programs) and future STEM skills (blending STEM with the infusion of technology skills on the jobs being designed).

  • Balancing Efficiency and Effectiveness
    Given the economic conditions and settling in of lower oil prices, there is immediate pressure to focus on efficiency measures within the world of talent. The companies that can take the time to review both the efficiency (cost to serve, continuous improvement, cost to fill, etc.) AND effectiveness levers (demand management, time to competence, retention, etc.) will emerge stronger and will be able to take advantage of the future talent to drive business growth and differentiation.

What do oil and gas companies need to do to ensure they have the right talent?
Oil and gas companies will differentiate themselves by spending time on both the effectiveness and efficiency of HOW they manage talent:

  • Be clear on what critical talent is needed for the business to execute now and in the future (2-3yrs). This includes critical skills, frequency of demand, locations and overall scarcity of skills.

  • Understand the talent’s expectations and desires in an employer for those talent segments that are critical for your business – this includes both employees and contingent labor services. Matching the attributes that an employer/worker is looking for to your business needs is a powerful combination and one that has been overlooked with many STEM focused industries.

  • Go get the data on your talent; this requires talent management systems/tracking and paying attention to how social and digital mechanisms can help you get feedback and push messaging to your talent.

“Oil and gas companies will differentiate themselves by spending time on both the effectiveness and efficiency of HOW they manage talent”

about stephanie

Stephanie Rogers is a Managing Director within Accenture’s Resources Operating Group, partnering with clients globally on Talent, Organization and HR programs. She has worked across both upstream and downstream in the energy sector and also in the chemicals and utilities industries. Stephanie's work has focused on operating model transformations, talent management, talent planning, talent development, capability building, learning programs, and talent analytics. She has also worked extensively in the field and operations space driving change and improvement programs.