Opinion: Investing in future talent

Opinion: Dean Hunter
Opinion: Dean Hunter
Dean Hunter
Opinion by Dean Hunter

We’ve all read plenty of stories predicting the future of the oil industry, with endless questions like: What will the oil price be in six months? Will we receive a tax cut as an industry in the imminent budget announcement? When Will OPEC reduce production to reduce the surplus supply of oil and gas?

So it may seem strange timing to talk about recruitment and investing in the future with universal cuts – but this is key to securing the industry for generations to come.

The most frustrating factor of these unanswered questions is that we have very little control over the outcomes. For many, it is a tough and trying time as leaders have very little choice but to say farewell to long-serving staff in order to reduce their cost base.

Having witnessed a dip in the industry before, one thing that always astounds me is how the cycles of recession and talent wars continue.

At times like this do we turn off the investment tap and forget about the workforce of tomorrow?

I managed to steer my 13-year-old daughter Lauren away from social media long enough to find out if she planned to join the oil and gas industry like her parents. The answers clearly show I need to spend more time attracting her into an industry that has given me an incredible career. Perhaps we all just think someone else will do that for us, but we have to practice what we preach…

Dad: So, living in Aberdeen means there are many jobs based in the oil and gas industry, what do you think it would be like working in the oil and gas industry?
Lauren: The impression I get is that most of the jobs are mostly for men, and I don’t think that I would be very good at that.

Dad: So what kind of jobs do you think exist in oil and gas?
Lauren: Getting oil and gas out of the seabed, sorting pipes and making machinery.

Dad: Do you like the sound of other jobs like IT, HR, and health and safety that support oil and gas companies?
Lauren: If I think about the oil and gas industry, I think about a man on an oil rig or a male diver.

Dad: What’s your view of the oil and gas industry for job security, is it a job for life?
Lauren: I hear that things change all the time, workers leave companies and they are replaced by new people. A lot of time people go offshore and I think I would have to travel all over the place and I wouldn’t have my job for too long.

Dad: Is the travel attractive?
Lauren: No I would rather travel on holiday – not with work.

Dad: Not being able to travel do you think that you would affect your career?
Lauren: Yes possibly, as I really wouldn’t want to travel offshore to oil rigs.

We often forget that the oil and gas industry is one of many sectors in the North-east. However, a lot of us still relate to oil and gas in some way, either directly or indirectly.

At times like this when the oil price is low, we tend put these discussions and investments ‘on hold’ as an industry. It is often said that we have come a long way from being a hire and fire sector with a short sighted focus – have we really? Do we invest of the youth of today?

We have to stop waiting for someone else to take responsibility for educating younger generations on entering the oil and gas industry – and start the conversations ourselves today.

Breaking