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How Gen Y Will Change the Face of Oil, Gas

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During the downturn of the 1980s and 1990s, the oil and gas industry suffered from a drastically low influx of talent. As a result, the sector is now left with two dominant age demographics: Baby Boomers and Gen Y, also known as millennials. As many Boomers prepare to retire, the industry is set to retain a workforce that so far lacks the experience and skill set to lead large-scale initiatives on their own. This experience gap poses a threat to the industry and its competitive edge in an ever changing, and often volatile, global marketplace.

To overcome this experience gap, oil and gas companies must ramp up their efforts in recruitment, training and retention. Additionally, they must begin to understand the values and goals of Gen Y along with what makes them unique and highly instrumental additions to the sector.

Understanding Gen Y in the Workplace

  • By next year, Gen Y will account for 36% of the U.S. workforce and by 2025, they will account for 75% of the global workplace. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
  • On track to become the most educated generation in American history (Pew Research)
  • 61% of Gen Yers are worried about the state of the world and feel personally responsible to make a difference (Huffington Post)
  • 84% say that helping to make a positive difference in the world is more important than professional recognition. (Bentley University’s Center for Women & Business)
  • Gen Y states that they do not deserve special treatment and are equally as committed as non-millennials. (PwC)
  • 92% believe that business success should be measured by more than profit (Deloitte)
  • Gen Y employees believe they have about the same level of organization commitment as Boomers and Gen Xers. (Strategy+Business)
  • 29% of Gen Y workers think work meetings to decide on a course of action are very efficient, compared to 45% of Boomers (Iconoculture 2011)
  • 80% of Gen Y says that they prefer on-the-spot recognition over formal reviews and feel that this is imperative for their growth and understanding of a job (Achievers and Experience, Inc.)
  • It costs an average of $24,000 to replace each Gen Y employee (Millennial Branding &
  • 15% of Gen Y are already managers (Millennial Branding &
  • 69% of Gen Y believes that office attendance is unnecessary on a regular basis and prefer flexible work environments (Cisco)

Attracting Gen Y to the Oil & Gas Industry

The oil and gas industry is a heavily tech-focused industry, and it should be touted as such as this resonates highly to this demographic. The industry must also begin promoting itself as the future of America’s energy solutions along with being financially stable and environmentally conscious. It is important to note that Gen Yers are not content to simply fill a role at an organization, they are adamant about making a difference through both their career choices and the organization to which they choose to devote their time.

Training & Knowledge Sharing

In order to get this generation up to speed before their Boomer counterparts retire, oil and gas companies must be diligent about implementing training workshops and programs. Smart oil and gas companies will create knowledge sharing initiatives that include input and direction from senior and experienced employees. Gen Yers will respond well to these initiatives, as the demographic is notoriously more concerned with advancement, additional responsibilities and leadership roles than with the monetary compensation that may go along with career advancement. This generation is ambitious, tech-savvy and committed. According to a recent Deloitte survey, Gen Yers within the oil and gas sector plan to stay with their organizations for more than five years, much higher than Gen Yers in most all other sectors.

Gen Y Retention & Values

In order for Gen Y to be productive and content in a workplace environment, they need to feel that they are a part of a work culture that understands their values and goals. Gen Y workers expect to work in a tech-savvy, paperless environment that is collaborative rather competitive. They desire a flexible work schedule with remote options and work-life integration. It is vital that oil and gas companies begin to engage and tailor their workplaces to attract and retain this generation in order to unlock their potential, which will bring forth ideas for innovation, sustainability and social consciousness. The future of the industry’s ability to compete on a global scale depends on it.


5 Comments on "How Gen Y Will Change the Face of Oil, Gas"

  1. rockman on Sun, 10th May 2015 6:47 am 

    Lovely thoughts indeed. I’ll assume they’ve come from someone with zero exposure to Big Oil. BTW nearly every newbie has to start with a Big Oil for training purposes. Since it takes a good 4 or 5 years to become truly productive new grads are of minimal value to the independents. BTW almost none of the newbie geologists have any oil patch tech in college even thru a masters degree level.

  2. Davy on Sun, 10th May 2015 6:59 am 

    Just another aspect of the infrastructure of our foundational commodity oil under pressure. This article looks at the nonphysical but the physical is also in decay. How can oil supply growth continue when you have physical and nonphysical entropic decay along with POD depletion issues? How can oil grow when you have broad based demand destruction issues? It can’t and the reality of these predicaments will expose reality soon.

  3. Boat on Sun, 10th May 2015 10:44 am 

    Houston is well poised to supply workers and education as oil runs out of baby boomers. Go Houston.

  4. buddavis on Sun, 10th May 2015 11:16 am 

    It is the technical field experience which will suffer. Hands on experience in dealing with all of the problems that can occur when drilling and completing a well. It is even worse when the overwhelming majority spend their first part of their career isolated drilling one type of well.

  5. Apneaman on Sun, 10th May 2015 4:00 pm 

    I guess the most recent generation is Gen Z. How appropriate it worked out like that since they will probably be the last to live.

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