How to Remedy the Energy Industry's Skill Shortage

oil worker squatting and reading gauge.

Did you know that one of the biggest challenges facing the Energy industry is a lack of skilled staff?

As the Energy sectors shifts and transforms, it experiences the growing pains that are necessary to become a more sustainable industry. One clear example is a shortage of the skills needed to make this transition, due in part to an aging workforce and a lack of training opportunities for new and emerging technologies.

What else has contributed to the Energy Industry’s skill shortage, and what can be done to remedy it? In this blog, we’ll look at insights from our 2021 Energy Outlook Report and break down the biggest factors contributing to the skills shortage and what your company can do today to reverse the trend.

For more insights into the latest trends transforming the Energy industry in 2021, download our free 2021 Energy Outlook Report. And stay tuned to our website and LinkedIn page for the 2022 Energy Outlook Report in the coming months.

The Leading Factors of the Skills Shortage

When asked about the main reasons for the ongoing skills shortage in the Energy industry, over half (56%) of recruiters said the biggest challenge they face is an aging workforce and lack of skilled staff, while 40% felt the biggest driver of the skills shortage is insufficient education and training. This is due in part to the surging renewables sector, with its new technology and innovative projects growing faster than the available training and education. This difficulty for companies and institutions to keep their training and education programs up to date creates a lag that results in a global skills gap.

Further, a lack of commitment to employee work-life balance from employers is leading candidates to seek longer-lasting career opportunities, impacting the industry’s ability to rehire members of the workforce and further intensifying the skills shortage.

Other factors include inadequate succession planning and knowledge transfer (24%), strict immigration laws that prevent companies from sourcing talent globally (16%), and a loss of expertise due to retirements (15%). In addition, fewer young candidates/specialists are entering the industry.

Overall, the impacts of skills shortages are being felt across the industry, but in particular in fields such as Operations and Maintenance (cited by 27%), Subsea Pipeline Construction (23%) and Health & Safety (21%). 

Let’s look at some of these factors in more depth.

An Aging Workforce

According to Brunel’s Global Oil & Gas Industry Leader Jeroen van Drunen, the aging Oil & Gas sector is starting to see talent gaps more harshly than other industries. Jeroen said, “Many experienced specialists are either looking to retire or developing their skills towards greener energies. With younger workers more concerned about climate change, it’s becoming increasingly challenging to identify and attract the right level of specialists to work on key Oil & Gas projects.”

Seeing as we’re still decades away from a full transition to green energy, companies need to look at how they can upskill and develop the talent they have.

A Lack of Training 

Considering that nearly half (40%) of respondents feel that insufficient education and training is the biggest driver of the worsening skills shortage, it is a massive area for improvement moving forward. New energy production methods create the need for new skills, meaning new training methods are urgently needed — especially for increasingly complex renewable energy sources such as green hydrogen and offshore wind. 

What can be Done to Reverse the Skills Shortage? 

Employers are looking at a range of solutions to address the problem, such as expanding training programs for their existing workforce (64%), broadening their recruitment processes to target people with transferable skills in other industries (36%), and collaborating with colleges to attract top graduates (29%). In addition, nearly a quarter of companies (22%) have launched initiatives to recruit more women, helping to address the industry’s gender imbalance.

How Can Brunel Help You Overcome the Energy Industry Skills Shortage?

If your company or career is experiencing skills-related challenges in the transition from traditional energy, we would love to hear from you to learn more about your challenges and discuss potential solutions together. 

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