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Lack Of Engineering Talent In Energy Sectors

Date: 26 June 2015

We have come to notice a distinct lack of engineering and technical talent across several niche markets. A distinctly shallow talent pool is making hiring in the industry a troublesome concept. This is especially concerning, as energy businesses need talented technical staff in order to increase efficiency and reduce costs: both highly important factors in what can be an uneasy market.

For example, back in 2011 a survey by Schlumberger Business Consulting (SBC) highlighted the problem, forecasting that more than 22,000 senior “petrotechnical professionals” would leave the industry by 2015 – equating to a net loss of more than 5,500 people. Recruitment of new graduates would offset this but “will not fill the experience gap”, it noted. SBC’s 2012 survey went a step further, predicting that the shortage of experienced oil industry professionals will reach 20 per cent of the talent pool in 2016.

It seems that the energy sector as a whole is failing to engage students from a young age, and this has led to a steady decrease in the number of students taking up engineering and related degrees. In an article on the Biz Journals website, it is noted that amongst the Millennial generation (those currently entering the workforce) very few showed any interest in working for the energy market, and this is reflected in a poor choice of suitable junior-level candidates for roles in the industry. While we focus on mid to senior level talent, this trend will obviously have an affect on the industry as a whole in the long run.

This can be traced back to bad press relating to the energy industry putting potential students off following it as a career path, but the relatively small intakes of students to study engineering at a higher level is also an issue on an international scale. Engineering courses seem to be taking a back seat to traditional humanities courses, as attaining a place to study engineering and achieving higher grades are perceived as being a lot harder than doing the same in either a BA in English Literature, a BA in Commerce or a BA in Applied Science.

Businesses have recognised this potential threat and are trying hard to change the perceptions of students by hosting events and discussions to change their minds. One such example includes the Florida-based incentive, the ‘Ocala Youth Energy Academy’, which sought to attract the power of young minds to the profession. SEEK – the Summer Engineering Experience for Kids – has a similar aim.

Some governments are also beginning to offer financial incentives and scholarships to students that opt to take engineering and technology courses at a higher level.

In addition to this, there is also an issue regarding diversity in the industry – specifically in relation to the number of women with a background in energy. Both in the UK and in America online articles have been published deriding the lack of female talent. Lucy Ackland, the 2014 winner of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Women's Engineering Society (WES) Award has spoken out regarding the matter, as the UK has only 6% female engineering professionals – the lowest proportion in Europe. In an article in the Washington Post it has also been pointed out that less than one-fifth of engineering degrees are awarded to women.

This lack of engineering and technological talent in the energy sector is something that obviously our experts have been tracking and are concerned about. If you’re interested in a position within the energy sector or more information and expert insight into the state of the industry, contact our team today.


Tagged In: LVI Associates
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