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June 06, 2016
Finding the harmony for oil and gas talent in the field
By: Gavin Mowrey

With massive amounts of knowledge and skills going out the front gate, plant managers are now faced with a real challenge of having to run operations effectively and safely with the retained talent. But how can oil and gas companies achieve a balance in talent efficiency and effectiveness?

The emergence of digital technologies in the energy workplace is having a significant impact on how we think about talent in the industry. Companies are making large investments in advanced machinery and ever-evolving technologies that require a new set of skills and supporting capabilities. That being said, challenging market conditions and reduced operating levels are forcing rounds of layoffs to keep costs down.

This talent may not be the most digitally-savvy or may be considered “too green” for some jobs. Some may lack the skills to compete with ever-shifting demands of the work they once performed as companies improve their machinery and invest in advanced technology, while others cannot organically build the skills because they are not given the opportunity to take a role prior to achieving a certain level of seniority. And while the end-product may be the same (albeit, hopefully enhanced with more advanced technology), there may be improvements in how the work is completed.

Companies are recognizing that investing in robust capability programs focused on building the right operational and safety skills across the organization will give them the agility to navigate these challenging times with minimal risk to safe and effective operations. With substantial investments in digital technologies, it is imperative that the right employees are building the right digital skills needed to drive value of investments in these new technologies.

But developing the right skills is not the only talent aspect that needs to be considered, especially in down markets. When budgets are tight and demand for premium skills is at an all-time high, companies need to maintain a “harmonized” balance between talent effectiveness and talent efficiency. In order to maintain the right balance, it is important to have analytical tools in place to evaluate the efficiency of talent management capabilities (e.g., cost to serve, contingent labor mix, and cost to fill). Proactive and routine management of workforce data allows for improved business decision-making related to workforce planning, sourcing, performance, and risk management to sustain lean operations.

Oil and gas companies that are taking the time to review both the efficiency AND effectiveness levers will emerge stronger and will be able to take advantage of the future talent to drive business growth and differentiation as market conditions improve. Leaders must think about how to build an agile, digitally-capable workforce that embeds talent management analytics to support strategic and tactical workforce decision making.

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