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Employee value in the Oil & Gas Sector

A man working at an oil rig

A job for life, good income, big benefits, status and international travel. For decades now, these have been the defining features of the Oil and Gas sector’s employer value proposition (EVP). 

This EVP has historically served the sector well, making Oil and Gas companies appear alluring to talent, providing these employers with an inherent edge in the talent acquisition market-place. 

But, in the early 21st century as the global digital revolution took hold, the sure but steady O&G employer value proposition, typically aimed at long-serving employees, began to look dated. It just couldn’t compete with the digital economy’s employer value proposition offering STEM graduates dynamism, instant responsibility, and the opportunity to be part of the next ‘big thing’. 

As a result, Google, Apple and the digital enterprises of this world are now seizing the lion-share of STEM talent, drawing it into their closed ecosystem, creating talent shortages in the STEM sector.  

The timing couldn’t have been worse for the O & G sector which has a rapidly ageing workforce that needs replacing,  and a growing demand for digital talent to support mission-critical digital transformation programmes.

Enhancing the Oil and Gas Employer Value Proposition

Oil and Gas employers cannot afford to be frozen out of the STEM talent market, therefore enhancing the oil and gas EVP is a mission-critical priority for the sector. Fortunately, this recent white paper: 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital | An Oil & Gas Perspective, provides some constructive insights. It argues that to attract modern talent, O&G employers must adapt their reward programmes – which tend to appeal to long-tenured/senior employees – to a more holistic and innovative one incorporating programs relating to physical, mental, financial and spiritual health. Currently, just 5% of respondents felt that their firm’s rewards package were meeting their needs, so there is work to be done here, because these more personalized programmes are what STEM millennial talent wants. 

Another area for development of the employer value proposition is the contingent work-force strategy. While many digital economy employers have mature contingent work-force engagement strategies, just 20% of Oil and Gas respondents believed their employers have well-defined policies for engaging the now invaluable contingent work-force.

PwC have been paying close attention to the Oil and Gas employee value proposition in the face of an ever-stiffening talent management challenge. 83% of their Oil and Gas CEO survey respondents believed that they needed to change their talent management strategies to stay competitive, but just a few felt that they possessed the HR analytics/information to achieve this end. PwC argue and explain that if properly harnessed HR analytics can be used to produce game-changing insights into the programs and interventions that can reduce turnover, boost engagement and attraction, and enhance the overall EVP  of the sector.  

Mckinsey’s research shed’s a light on a very specific shortcoming in the Oil and Gas sector’s employer value proposition and that is it’s ability to attract digital talent, which has now become mission critical to success. This is because, like many other sectors,  Oil and Gas is going through a period of digital transformation and automation, (incorporating AI and machine learning into business processes), which is leading to huge productivity gains.  This is creating huge demand for digital business talent, particularly people who can coordinate effectively between the business and technical providers. At the same time the millennials, who are just about the largest workforce generational group, are becoming managers and executives and bring significant expectations about the digitization and dynamism of the oil and gas work-place.  

The O&G sector needs to enhance it’s employer value proposition to specifically attract digital talent away from Silicon Valley and the global IT sector, and also to retain it.

As the talent attraction and retention challenge stiffens, the oil and gas sector can no longer rely on traditional approaches to talent attraction and retention. Modern conditions have meant that the oil and gas sector is operating in direct competition with Silicon Valley and the IT sector for mission-critical digital skills. If the oil and gas sector is to compete effectively in the STEM and digital talent market, they’ll need to upgrade their employer value proposition to be at least as attractive as the IT sector and at best they’ll need to be offering unique differentiating features.

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