Amid the unprecedented downturn in oil and gas markets, oil and gas operators significantly reduced their workforces. As a consequence, they are likely to face a major talent shortage—especially among petrotechnical professionals (PTPs)—when the market rebounds. This looming talent crisis could cripple their businesses.

Closing the pending talent gap will be tough. Digital innovations require new skillsets. At the same time, neither the PTPs who recently left the industry, nor recent college grads are willing or able to step up.

It’s critical for operators to devise new strategies to build their Supply Chain of Talent™ and ensure they have the future workforce needed to stay competitive.

Oil & gas operators will experience an estimated deficit of 10,000 to 40,000 petrotechnical professionals by 2025

Key findings

The petrotechnical workforce—which includes geoscientists and engineers—is the lifeblood of oil and gas companies’ exploration and production operations. Because of industry job cuts and retirements since 2014, operators will likely face a serious PTP shortage when oil production rebounds and investments in exploration and production grow.

Old talent acquisition strategies, which focused on hiring recent college graduates or rehiring employees that recently separated, won’t work. This time it’s different:

Entirely new skillsets are needed
Digital innovations, coupled with new asset portfolios, will create new PTP roles and refine existing ones.

PTP talent won't come back
Many PTPs have retired or accepted early retirement packages. At the same time, technology advances have accelerated such that the skills of PTPs rejoining the industry would likely be obsolete.

Millennials won't close the gap in the Supply Chain of Talent™
Oil and gas careers are not attractive to many young people, who believe the industry lacks innovation, agility and creativity.


To position themselves for the upturn, and thrive over the long term, oil and gas companies must start now by rethinking how they will develop their Supply Chain of Talent™.

Pivot to hiring

Understand how PTP roles will change and invest in talent strategies that will attract and retain the best and brightest.

Use digital to attract and develop talent

Digital platforms, cloud-based collaboration tools, and training delivered via remote coaching or augmented reality make a difference.

Work smarter

Standardizing processes and prioritizing workloads can drive efficiencies and free PTPs for more strategic activities.

Make agility the north star

Design talent strategies that optimize the talent mix—and the extended workforce.

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The new reality

U.S. operators will be the first to face the crunch in their Supply Chain of Talent™

The shortage of PTPs will be a global phenomenon, although it will emerge first in the United States. U.S. operators experienced a sharper drop in PTP headcount during the recent downturn, and it is expected that demand for PTPs will rebound earlier and more strongly. Since 2014 the U.S. PTP talent supply has declined by ~25%, yet the workforce forecast predicts that demand for PTPs to increase 82% by 2025.

David S. Andrews

Managing Director – Accenture, Talent & Organization

Aleek Datta

Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting, Energy

Charles Newnam

Senior Manager – Accenture Strategy, Talent & Organization


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