Today’s oil & gas industry is experiencing serious challenges attracting the workers they need. The 2022 Global Energy Talent Index identifies that 20% of the workforce is above the age of 55 and 82% of workers would consider leaving oil & gas for another energy industry. So what are oil & gas companies doing about this workforce transition and how can technology play a role in these transitions?
The World Economic Forum identified that oil & gas companies are leveraging this transition for growth by introducing new job roles and phasing out redundancies. The strongest emerging job role is “renewable energy engineer.” For more information on the transition to renewables see the point of view titled “Sustainability in Oil & Gas.” Here are three other areas also driving growth.
Oil & gas companies will continue leaning into the digitization of more measurement points and personnel activities during this workforce transition. As more instrumentation moves online, there is less need for data entry clerks. As software manages more of the information flow, administrative roles like bookkeepers, accountants, clerks, and secretaries become redundant.
With this shift, there will be an increased requirement for process automation specialists, remote sensing technologists, and software developers. These new requirements are well aligned with the roles that new employees are trained for. This shift will slowly de-emphasize the traditional roles that are more common to the older employee base.
Big Data Analytics
Data volume is increasing exponentially with the increase in digitization. Pulling more value out of this data for energy management, predictive maintenance, and operations dashboards becomes an imperative. This new world of electronic data reduces the need for material-recording clerks or stock-keeping clerks, and shifts the need to a broader domain of big data specialists and analysts.
The automation that oil & gas have leveraged in control systems is growing into other areas of automation. Tools like remote operations centers, drones, robots, and control of production parameters with machine learning and artificial intelligence are just a few possibilites.
This expanded automation domain also results in shifted employee roles from manual labourers to AI or machine learning specialists and robotics engineers.
Industry Point of View
Cisco’s software tools and communication infrastructure are at the heart of all these growth areas. Here are three ways Cisco helps with the workforce transition from traditional oil & gas roles to the new roles.
Digital Knowledge Capture
Today’s high bandwidth wireless infrastructure makes it possible to take video cameras and mobile devices anywhere in the field. Workers can now not only document incidents and work results, but also capture training footage of experienced field workers demostrating their optimized way of doing things. This video can be tagged to assets in the asset management database for easy access.
New workers already use YouTube videos to inform DIY projects at home. Extending that motion of consulting videos for pertinent training clips is natural for new employees at work as well.
Modern Tools and Infrastructure
YouTube is just one example of modern tools that are second nature to new employees. Having real time access to mobile HMI’s, project management systems, service management platforms, and ERP systems, all from their mobile devices is both a convenient and natural way of operating for new employees.
At Cisco our collaboration engineering teams have taken great care to make the ease of access and participation in Webex a core tenant in product design. On one hand, a new employee may join a meeting from a phone in the far reaches of an oil field, on the other, an experienced field worker may walk into a room where a video unit connects to the same meeting without any configuration or searching through menu options. These two scenarios connect people of very different backgrounds and experience. They are able to communicate effectively in the same meeting, in a way that works for each of them individually.
Cisco serves a wide range of technology and human experience. The workforce transition in today’s oil & gas industry will result in more technology diversity and more people diversity. That requires a wide range of experiences from Cisco. The Cisco team looks forward to helping our energy customers navigate this challenging time with new opportunities.