Is Your Company Prepared for an Oil & Gas Skills Shortage? Part 3


In the final part of our discussion over a pending skills shortage in the oil & gas industry we will consider the impact of the sector’s move towards digital technologies.

The Upcoming Digital Transition

In order to plan for the next five years, companies must also consider the effects of an industry that is leaning further towards a digital future.

A recent survey by EY found that 89% of executives expected to accelerate their investment in digital over the next two years. The motivations for this investment are to improve efficiency and operational improvement, with 75% of respondents noting that they are already implementing some form of robotic process automation (RPA).

Increased hiring of digital roles may alleviate the risk of a skills shortage in some roles but could simply shift the demand to new areas with data scientists and programmers seeing their market value rise, putting pressure on company budgets in the same way engineers did previously. It would be wise to consider the cost-effective benefits of hiring digital roles now before the market for them heats up.

If an engineering firm sees disruption coming down the line to their industry then training some staff in computer programming or aligning their apprenticeship schemes with a digital future could also make the difference between the success and failure of a business in keeping pace with a changing industry landscape.

EY’s Global Oil & Gas Advisory Leader, Jeff Williams, underlined this in a statement accompanying their survey:

“There is now broad recognition across the industry, however, that short-term cost-cutting is not the answer, and that digitization has the potential to significantly improve efficiency. If businesses can think holistically about technology, they can go further to unlock ambitious growth opportunities and emerge as industry leaders”.


A proactive, rather than reactive approach to hiring will ensure that your company can reduce the impact of a future skills shortage. Hiring with a long-term, cultural fit in mind will also make a big difference to departments and teams, with mentors taking the place of knowledge hoarders who leave organisations and allow their skill set to retire, or transfer with them. Apprenticeships and training are also a must to protect the bottom line and the agility and sustainability of an organisation. Finally, when considering the above strategies, companies should consider the digital path of the industry and their sector to ensure that they are positioning their business towards future skills, rather than the past.

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