How Gen Y Will Change The Face of Oil & Gas – Oil & Gas Monitor


At first glance, the oil and gas industry may not seem inviting to those entering the job market with newly minted degrees.  With the recent volatility in the oil and gas industry, many recent college graduates who had considered a degree in a energy-related field a route to success are now finding themselves skeptical about pursuing a long-term career in the sector. Even the largest industry employers have been and will most likely continue to make staff reductions over the course of 2015, which diminishes the prospects for graduates.

For other Gen Yers, the industry appears to conflict with their core values.  This tech savvy and innovative segment perceives the industry to be a fossil – outdated and outmoded. In addition, for many, the idea of petroleum-based energy clashes with their interest in environmentalism and “green” or renewable energy.

Despite challenges in appealing to this group, they have a lot to offer and should be well considered by recruiters in the oil and gas industry. Gen Y has grown up in a time of booming technological development and many have their sights set on pursuing careers with tech start-ups or software companies while many others are extremely entrepreneurial. If the sector is successful in persuading this younger generation to join forces, the industry will benefit immensely from their savvy, demand for innovation and their push for the deployment of highly effective technological solutions. This generation has the ability to drive real change for businesses in the sector and that translates to greater financial growth and stability.

On the hiring side, the oil and gas sector has a real need to tap into this younger group of workers.  Due to a sharp downturn in candidates pursuing careers in the field in the 1980’s and 1990’s, the sector primarily has come to rely upon two demographics, Baby Boomers and Generation Y, for its workforce. As Baby Boomers prepare to leave the workforce, the industry is set to face a large skill gap. In order to avoid this predicament, the industry must convince Gen Y that it is worthwhile to pursue a career within the sector because there is a tremendous opportunity for growth, advancement and within certain sectors, stability.  Additionally, the sector must also raise awareness among Gen Y to show them that the sector is indeed full of technological innovations and is now more environmentally conscious and secure than ever before.

HR initiatives to attract the interest of this segment of the workforce are investments that will pay off.  According to a recent study by Deloitte, Gen Y is more likely than their Gen X counterparts to remain loyal to a company for more than 5 years. The survey also revealed that Gen Yers who are already in the industry are actually more content in their roles than Gen Yers in most all other industries. Simply holding a job does not fulfill this generation; they have a strong desire to affect change. The fact that some within this younger workforce are finding contentment and a home within the sector is proof that the industry holds the components that this generation is seeking; we simply must find a better way to convey it. Lastly, this generation thrives on advancement, rather than monetary compensation. With the emerging skills gap in the industry, this is the perfect time for E&P companies to recruit and implement training programs in order to grow their employees so that they are ready to take on management roles once Baby Boomers completely leave the workforce.

To shape the way the sector is perceived, the industry must engage on the same level with this younger generation. E&P companies should be active on college campuses, begin spending more time promoting meaningful messages on social media platforms and greatly promote the technology and environmental safety aspects of the sector. While there are certainly obstacles in recruiting Gen Yers to the industry, these barriers can be broken. When the perception of the industry shifts, we will begin to see companies benefit greatly from fresh ideas and innovations in both the office and in the field, which will ensure the industry remains competitive on a global scale.