Céline Rottier *
This has become a daily reality in the oil and gas sector, driven by the complex challenges facing the industry.
About 50% of the oil & gas industry’s skilled professionals will retire within the next 5 years, with this figure growing significantly by 2018. The oil and gas industry refers to this as “the big crew change”, as it mainly seeks to replace these future losses with young people; that is, if the industry can attract them.
The oil and gas sector has suffered from negative publicity over the last few years and few young people know about the attractive career opportunities in the field. Young people also tend to give a lot of importance to the integration of green energy sources in the future energy supply. Although in first instance attracting young talent to the oil & gas industry seems to be a communication issue, the outcomes of a youth session at the World Petroleum Council´s Canadian division indicate that it is more about gaining young people´s trust. In other words, to recruit the best young talent the industry needs to act, as it says.
Attracting young talent, however, is not enough: these young people also need to be prepared to face the challenges of the oil and gas industry. This is especially true at a time where recovering hydrocarbons has become more difficult than ever before, as companies move into deeper waters and arctic regions. Hence, companies have to avoid a massive drain of knowledge and make sure it is passed on to the next generation. As this young talent is likely to come from different countries and regions than in the past, the industry should also prepare for an important cultural shift and support this diversity.
The expected geopolitical developments pose some additional challenges to the energy sector. China and India, for example, are growing at a swift pace and are looking for energy resources to support the explosive development of their economies, converting them into some of the main energy consumers in the world. It is uncertain, however, if the energy sector will be able to provide sufficient energy to support the projected energy consumption for 2030. Therefore, in reality the different energy sources are not in competition, but are all complementary. It will be the new generation´s responsibility to define what this future energy mix should look like.
In order to prepare the youth to take up these complex challenges, senior persons of the industry have taken several initiatives. The most striking examples are those that encourage young people to take an active role in shaping their futures, such as the European Youth Energy and Environment Platform of the European Parliament, the Harvard College Global Energy Summit and the Youth Committee of the World Petroleum Council.
Thanks to these initiatives, young people working in the oil & gas industry from all over the world can form a true global youth platform. These young leaders select the key discussion points, choose the speakers and interact with their seniors on stage at youth events. This means that the brightest minds in the oil & gas industry get the chance to exchange and discuss their views and concerns on the topics of their interest.
I kindly invite everyone to attend and support these initiatives. The atmosphere at the youth events is absolutely unique, fresh and energizing. They are great experiences for young people who are, after all, our energy leaders of tomorrow.
* Céline Rottier is an Offshore Engineer at Repsol and contributor to ThinkYoung’s pan-European writing team.
Young Energy Leaders
Where have you seen young people take the lead in the organization of major conferences with over 900 attendees from all over the world? How often do you see young people sharing their ideas and debating with their peers on stage at international events?
The expected geopolitical developments pose some additional challenges to the energy sector. China and India, for example, are growing at a swift pace and are looking for energy resources to support the explosive development of their economies, converting them into some of the main energy consumers in the world.
Céline Rottier *