Staying on the subject of the oil and gas industry, this article in Upstream Online elicits no sympathy from me whatsoever:
A shortage of highly-specialised professionals including sub-sea engineers, geoscience experts or reservoir engineers has caused painful cost rises for oil companies, even though many are now earning nearly $70 a barrel for oil.
The younger generation may be turned off by oil’s image as a heavy, sunset industry, industry executives say.
Well, industry executives probably will say that, because it is a lot easier and less embarrassing than having to examine their own ludicrous recruitment policies, by which I mean the insane list of requirements they attach to even junior positions in the industry. At this point I will refer to my post on the subject from October last year and take the lazy route of repeating myself:
We all laugh at the mythical job description that asks for a 25 year old with 15 years experience, but there is some truth behind the joke. It appears that companies are only interested in recruiting people who have a minimum of 10 years experience in a particular field of expertise.
[R]ealistically, a person who has at least 10 years experience in a particular field of expertise is going to be in his early 40s at best, and most likely in his mid 40s. If, as many companies do, you want somebody with 15 years experience you’ll be looking at somebody in their 50s.
So as somebody of the younger generation in the oil and gas industry, I’d say the reason the younger generation is turned off by oil’s image is because the industry for the larger part refuses to recruit them. And sure enough, back to the Upstream article:
“The demographics of the industry are changing,” said David Lesar, chief executive of US oil services company Halliburton. “It’s no secret that the average person in the industry is now in their mid-40s, statistics show.”
Now there’s a suprise!! We insist on recruiting only those with a minimum 10-15 years experience, and the average age is in their mid-40s! What other revelations are we in for today? Nursery school intakes are devoid of pensioners?
Tom Botts, executive vice president of exploration and production at Royal Dutch Shell in Europe, said skilled staff in sub-surface engineering and reservoir and well engineering were in particularly short supply.
And in the UK there are not enough students on engineering courses.
“We need to get into the schools because just getting them out of university is not enough,” said Botts.
Whilst I don’t want to say anything harsh which might jeopardise my fledgling career in the oil and gas industry, I would like to gently advise Mr Botts that the problem is likely to remain unsolved for as long as the oil and gas industry values longevity of service – and by this I don’t mean experience – over and above ability. In the year that has passed since I broached this subject last, I have seen little to persuade me that I was mistaken when I wrote this:
Companies in the oil and gas industry insist on a person having 15 years experience, and are adamant about this longevity of service, but are not so fussy about what those 15 years have actually entailed. In fact, they barely ask. So long as you have grey hair and have done something since you left university, you must be okay. Hence it is better to have on your CV 15 years of blinding incompetence than 5 years of brilliance.