Talent Pressures in Downstream Oil & Gas

9 September 2022 — Chad Wilson

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Talent Pressures in Downstream Oil & Gas

If you thought manufacturing in Oil and Gas was tough, it is getting even more competitive.

What does a talent shortage look like in Downstream? In addition to what this looks like, what does the new environment inside Oil and Gas (O&G) look like?

A new environment - The path, the challenge, solutions (© E&P Consulting, 2022)
A new environment - The path, the challenge, solutions (© E&P Consulting, 2022)


So now the challenge with talent resourcing is to do more with less but still find the resources you want to meet your goals and KPIs. What does this mean?

In the old-world order, both large IT organisations and large O&G producers followed the same model. Portfolio owners went to their suppliers and gave them a job description of a role that focused on specific IT skills. In today’s new world, you cannot afford to settle for someone who just has IT skills and expect them to meet the challenge and demands of today’s much more savvy users.

Unfortunately, most suppliers are still only covering about 2/3s of what is required to identify the perfect fit for a role.

Traditional Providers
Traditional Provider - The traditional approach to resourcing (© E&P Consulting, 2022)

Every supplier has their own approach to how they manage their resources and how they answer the call of the client. As shown in the diagram above, while each has their own strengths, they also have inherent weaknesses. It is these weaknesses that almost guarantee that they will not find the right match for resources that our industry requires.

What is happening?

When talent resourcing for a project team or role, most organisations will look at the digital expertise and the role expertise and prescribe a fit. However, they are often only focusing on two out of three key requirements for a successful fit. Domain expertise is also vitally important.

What resources need to know
Talent Resourcing - What resources need to know (© E&P Consulting, 2022)

In this new climate, our clients need someone who has both digital expertise and role fit, but also at least a base level understanding of what they need to manage out in the field. If you are talking to a stakeholder in the maintenance department of a site and they are listing off all the equipment they need to monitor, and you don’t know the difference between an exchanger and a distillation tower, or a PSV, you are going to struggle in that conversation. You will need someone in the role that truly understands your domain.

What options do we have for talent resourcing?

As large operators, our clients tend to have several options to investigate when searching for talent. The biggest issue tends to be that whilst most resources may have the required technical skills, they lack the context of our industry to plug into existing teams.

As a hiring manager, you will most likely experience very long lead times with internal HR departments, and while you may get a resume of someone who is technically competent, they will likely not understand what is happening behind the business that they are being tasked to support. To overcome this issue, you need to ensure the resource has the domain expertise to go with the digital skills.

Addressing the talent resourcing challenge in and Downstream

With the increased pressures on automation and multiple disruptions that are yielding hybrid reformation of IT operations models, digital skills are no longer a nice to have, they are a fundamental foundation requirement. Add to this the mass shift in the workforce that now demands only remote working arrangements, better remote connectivity, and flexibility in working hours, and we have a much more competitive market for the necessary resources that all our clients require.

What E&P does differently?

We work very closely with our clients to ensure a clear picture of the resource requirements. We set expectations up front so everyone on the team understands what to expect. Then, we utilise our vast network of talent across the globe to identify potential resources.

Lastly, we focus on consultants who have both the domain experience and the digital skills to effectively and efficiently deliver digital projects across the full spectrum of the energy industry. This combination of experience and expertise enables resource to easily integrate into your existing teams by understanding your business environment, whilst fully understanding and appreciating your project needs and the required digital solutions.

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To find out more about how we work with the industry and our approach to talent resourcing for Transportation and Downstream, reach out to Chad Wilson, E&P’s Downstream Business Development and US Lead at chad.wilson@eandpconsulting.com.