Like many industries today, the oil industry is trying to sell its many job opportunities to the fastest growing portion of the global workforce: Millennials. But unlike any other industry, oil and gas is facing more challenges in persuading the environmentally-conscious Millennials that oil is “cool”.
During the Super Bowl earlier this year, the American Petroleum Institute (API) launched an ad geared toward Millennials, who now make up the largest generation in the U.S. labor force.
“This ain’t your daddy’s oil”, the ad says, in what API described as “a modern look at how oil is integrated into products consumers use now and in the future supported by bold visuals.”
Despite its pitch to speak the Millennials’ language and reach out to the elusive generation, the ad sparked anger with many consumers and viewers.
Millennials continue to have the most negative opinion toward the oil industry compared to all other industries, and they don’t see a career in oil and gas as their top choice of a workplace. The oil industry’s talent scouting and recruiting methods of the past are failing to reach Millennials, who want their work to have a positive impact on society, various studies and polls have found—a rather big ask for the oil industry.
This failure to reach the group that makes up the largest portion of today’s workforce—which now surpasses Generation X—points to a huge problem for the oil sector, as Baby Boomers move into retirement in droves.
Not only are Millennials snubbing oil and gas because of its negative image, they also seek different job perks than previous generations sought, and in this regard, the oil industry will need to do more as it becomes increasingly obvious that Millennials want different things than what oil executives think they want.
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A total of 14 percent of Millennials say they would not want to work in the oil and gas industry because of its negative image—the highest percentage of any industry, McKinsey said in September 2016.
Young people see the industry as dirty, difficult, and dangerous, according to an EY survey published last month. EY’s survey polled Millennials—the 20-to-35-year-olds today—as well as Generation Z coming after them, and found that younger generations “question the longevity of the industry as they view natural gas and oil as their parents’ fuels. Further, they primarily see the industry’s careers as unstable, blue-collar, difficult, dangerous and harmful to society.”
In addition, two out of three teens believe the oil and gas industry causes problems rather than solves them, the survey showed.
So ‘not your daddy’s oil’ is not sinking in with Millennials and Generation Z, and with many of them, it never will, despite the oil lobbies’ marketing efforts to try to make it sound like an attractive career path.
According to executives polled by EY, the top three drivers for young people would be salary (72 percent), opportunity to use the latest technology (43 percent), and a good work-life balance (38 percent). But young people—although they are also prioritizing salary—have other views on what they look for in a job. Salary is still the top priority at 56 percent, but a close second comes good work-life balance (49 percent), with job stability and on-the-job happiness equally important at 37 percent.
Executives are underestimating the importance of work-life balance and stability for Millennials, while overestimating the allure of technology as a factor. It’s not surprising that Millennials are not as attracted to the opportunity to use new tech as oil executives believe they are – Millennials generally don’t see technology as a perk, they take it for granted.
Moreover, Millennials don’t see the oil and gas industry as innovative – a major driver of career choice among this generation. According to a recent report by Accenture, “Despite evidence to the contrary, many Millennials believe the sector is lacking innovation, agility and creativity, as well as opportunities to engage in meaningful work. In fact, only 2 percent of U.S. college graduates consider the oil and gas industry their top choice for employment.” Related: U.S. May Halt Oil Imports From Venezuela
Accenture is warning that ‘the talent well has run dry’ and said:
“We believe the growing workforce deficit will, in fact, be a greater barrier to oil and gas companies’ upturn success than any deficits that might exist in capital, equipment or supplies.”
The oil and gas industry is losing the competition for talent recruitment to industries that are more appealing to Millennials, and U.S. oil and gas firms will face the talent crunch first, according to Accenture.
“Any mature industry has to think about the fact that there’s a new sheriff in town with new values, new spending habits,” Jeff Fromm, an expert in marketing to American Millennials, told Bloomberg.
And if the oil and gas industry wants to get this ‘new sheriff in town’ on board, it needs to profoundly change recruitment strategies and talent sourcing. But with the negative image that is probably set to become even more negative—despite oil organizations’ marketing efforts—oil and gas has a huge workforce problem looming.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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As long as American semi-socialist government can print debt dollars!
True capitalism would pay 3x, 10x, 100x times if it would bring profit.
Becoming a chemical engineer, and working in the oil industry, would give one opportunities for a far higher impact on society than most any other occupation. Through every project working at a chemical/ petrochemical plant, one can help develop energy-saving technologies in the production of millions of consumer goods that people need and want daily--many such projects saving more energy for society than a person (and his/her extended family) will use in generations. That's what the technical employees of any petrochemical plant do! Where else can you have such a dramatically positive impact?
Nothing like boot camp to cut off the umbilical from Mommy.
And a year and a half of touring this world and dealing with different cultures to broaden your thinking.
If there is only 40 years of reserves left as someone suggests, why would you not want to work in oil as it will provide employment for longer than you want to work. These young people are just spoiled and lazy. They will eventually find out that mommie's basement isn't always going to be there for them. Good luck!
The universities elites badly fails young the people. They impose their own agenda about the world on them, and the end result is young people coming out with useless degree, very high monetary expectations, very poor work ethics, lost, and me, me, me attitude. Enough on this.
The truth is oil industry is a great field to work for anybody, and in particular for young, educated engineers. If you want to solve problems, innovate, cleanup environment, etc..etc.. this is the place to be. Technology changes very fast also in this field, and that creates opportunities. It is very rewarding for hands on people, who like to get their hands dirty. The sky is the limit, if you have the right attitude.
Oil used to seem like the future. Remember the advice about plastic in The Graduate. To younger people it now seems boring and irrelevant to their smart phones. So they accentuate the negative.
Pay up or shut up.
If the millennials don't wont to work in the oil & gas industry then make it attractive to keep the older generation in the industry.
Lithium mining for battery production will be the new wave of the future. (currently around $20,000 a ton)
Disposal of the old used cells will be another waste problem.
So we still have the same issue like we had with oil.
You cant win them all.
Um, lets find a source of energy that is non destructive.
Or better yet, lets just make transporter devices like in Star Trek.
We could transport anything in seconds, people, goods, whatever.
Oops, that will create more laws, and taxes, restrictions, and whatever else.
Too much egotistical greed controlling the planet.
Ego needs to be tamed before we can make any real progress as a human race.
Humans have a long way to go, but a short time to get there.