Oil and gas companies need to take a long-term, strategic approach to recruitment if they are to avoid the pitfalls of a self-inflicted, perpetuating talent shortage, a new report says.
Energy firms are more focused on reducing their headcounts to cope with the current oil price downturn, with industry body Oil and Gas UK venturing last month that as many as 4,000 North Sea jobs have been lost since last summer.
But talent shortages have affected the industry since the 1990s, and many observers have warned that the sector still needs to find new workers, or it will not be ready to take advantage when the market picks up.
In a report titled When One Crisis Meets Another: Focusing on Talent for the Long Term, KPMG said downturns in the 1980s and 1990s and inadequate workforce planning have created a shortage of qualified staff ready to replace those who are nearing retirement.
The problems appear to run deep at energy firms. Only 21% of companies are able to promote from within their own ranks, according to the report, which was compiled from a survey of more than 2,500 oil and gas professionals.
Furthermore, only 23% have planned sufficiently by putting clearly defined strategies for talent management in place, while a paltry 24% of respondents believed that their company’s leadership team was effectively engaging employees.
Duncan MacAskill, senior partner with KPMG in Aberdeen, added: “The industry has to recognise the business imperative to put talent management at the top of its agenda and take a strategic approach to attracting and retaining the right skills.
“Senior executives in businesses of all sizes must show leadership by becoming more engaged with the issue. This is even more critical when it is put in the context of the different expectations that people in their 20s and 30s have for their careers.”
Eddie Norrie, associate partner for people services with KPMG in Scotland, said: “Companies need to take a strategic approach.
“If the industry does not change its approach the crisis will persist and when the price of oil increases it will only worsen.”
By Mark Lammey