The oil and gas industry is facing strong competition in attracting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent but almost half of the younger generation is interested in the industry, according to a survey released by ADNOC.
The survey found that 44 per cent of Millennials and Generation Z (Gen Z) are interested in pursuing a career in oil and gas, compared to 77 per cent in the technology sector, 58 per cent in life sciences and pharmaceuticals, and 57 per cent in healthcare – according to the inaugural global “Workforce of the Future” survey commissioned by ADNOC (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company), released at the energy event CERAWeek by IHS Markit.
Interest in oil and gas is on par with the marketing and advertising (48 per cent), hospitality (47 per cent), transport/logistics (46 per cent) and retail (41 per cent) industries, the report said.
The survey was commissioned by ADNOC to examine future workforce and employment trends in the oil and gas industry, particularly as the industry looks to attract STEM talent and enable the 4th Industrial Age.
This is in line with ADNOC’s Oil & Gas 4.0 mission to help meet the world’s increasing demand for energy and higher-value products – by fostering a dynamic and performance-led culture that cultivates talent and applies the latest technology to optimise resources.
The survey interviewed STEM students and young professionals aged 15 to 35 in 10 countries – across North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, representing a mix of significant global economies, and producers and consumers of oil and gas – and looked at their perceptions across multiple STEM-related industries, including oil and gas, and the skills they value and believe are required to succeed in these industries.
Young STEM talent also associate the oil and gas industry with high salaries and see it as an industry that is invaluable. “The industry pays well,” “the industry is crucial for their country’s economy and development,” and it is “an industry we couldn’t live without,” are ranked as the top three positive attributes about the industry.
STEM Millennials and Gen Zs show the most interest in industries that they believe will be most impacted by new technologies. Globally, 42 per cent say that new technologies will have a major impact on the oil and gas industry, while 56 per cent say the same for healthcare, 53 per cent for life sciences and pharmaceuticals, and 73 per cent for the technology industry.
Nearly 3 in 4 believe that new technologies will have an overall impact on the oil and gas industry, compared to 9 out of 10 for the technology sector.
His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and ADNOC Group CEO, said:
“The findings from the ADNOC ‘Workforce of the Future’ survey show that the more STEM Millennials and Gen Zs associate oil and gas with new technologies, the more interested they will be in a career in the industry. The oil and gas industry should position itself at the cutting-edge of technology and showcase how breakthrough innovation is vital to every aspect of our business – across the upstream and downstream value chain."
“The world’s demand for energy and higher-value products continues to increase at an unprecedented rate. In order to meet that demand, our industry must stay ahead of the curve and ensure we continue to attract, retain and develop our young people. As we enter the 4th Industrial Age, we need to come together as an industry and – with our technology industry partners – better highlight the exciting opportunities our dynamic industry offers to young talent with strong technology skills,” he added.
Interest in oil and gas rises as STEM talent enters the job market
The data also shows that some experience in the job market and a tertiary education in STEM subjects can help change perceptions positively towards a career in the oil and gas sector. While interest is low among secondary school-age STEM students (37 per cent are interested in a career in oil and gas), this figure rises to approximately half (51 per cent) of young professionals being interested in pursuing a career in the sector – representing a 14-point increase.
H.E. Dr. Al Jaber added: “It is encouraging that STEM talent begin to view oil and gas more favourably and acknowledge the benefits and opportunities the industry offers as they mature and enter the workforce. However, there is clearly an opportunity to start engaging earlier and emphasizing how technology and softer skills such as ‘creativity and innovative thinking’ are important for oil and gas.
“Oil and gas has always been – and will continue to be – an industry of the future that is at the forefront of technology and innovation. It is an exciting time for STEM talent to join the industry, particularly as we advance our Oil & Gas 4.0 mission and embrace new technologies and partnerships for digital and technological transformation across our entire operations,” said H.E. Dr. Al Jaber.