Bruce Crager reported on OILPRO that even though there has been a “recent softening of oil prices” it has been a good year for the industry overall. He alludes that the market will “continue to be hard pressed to meet the increasing need for oil and gas in the future” due to a strong demand for hydrocarbons, in spite of a surge in the production of onshore shale.
Although much excitement continues, the oil and gas industry is struggling with yet another challenge. This new challenge is “the availability of human resources to meet the needs of the future”. Crager refers to the issue as the “graying” of the trade workforce presenting a “significant concern” to the industry.
This concern is supported by:
Retirement of the baby boomers – This generation “accounts for most of the personnel in the industry, who are currently in their late fifties and will most likely retire in the next ten years”.
35- to 50-year-old gap – Downsizing over the past 30 years has created a “significant personnel gap” in the industry. A middle management gap formed due to massive termination in 1982 – 2000. “The challenge is to take individuals with significantly less industry experience and bring them up to speed much more quickly than in the past”.
Lack of personal joining the workforce – Poor public perception of the oil and gas industry creates recruiting difficulties. The general public sees energy industry work as less desirable “even though entry-level personnel garner high salaries and excellent benefits”.
Crager offers two possible solutions for the market personnel deficit. The first being to, “recruit more individuals at a university level”. Additionally, groups in the industry are igniting interest at the middle and high school level for American students. They are encouraging them to pursue engineering and science vocational paths.