Employers and employees "on parity" with digital technology
The adoption of automation and digital technologies is one of the primary areas where employers and employees are "on the same page", according to the Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) Report 2021.
The fifth annual GETI report from Airswift and Energy Jobline surveyed 16,000 energy professionals and hiring managers in 166 countries across five industry sub-sectors.
In the digital sphere, it found "measures respondents want and oil and gas companies are taking" to be the same, at 37 percent, while petrochemical (37 percent against 41 percent), power (44 and 45 percent) and renewable companies (42 and 43 percent) are slightly exceeding expectations. Only in nuclear (38 percent and 33 percent ) did staff feel firms are lagging behind.
The biggest threat of all remains a looming talent crisis, the report warns.
"No sector is immune, and there are plenty of red flags around the entire energy industry’s ability to build a pipeline of qualified young people willing to join and remain in the industry. As much as the workforce has embraced technology, it believes that securing the right people is the most important way to build resilience into the business. To that end, current employees want more training and mentorship."
While the oil and gas industry has been "fighting a war on two fronts" in the form of falling prices and the pandemic, there remains "discernible optimism" among its highly mobile workforce. Up to 89 percent questioned would be prepared to relocate for work, with most citing career progression opportunities (42 percent).
"Advances in the past 12 months alone show the sector is continuing to innovate, so it’s not surprising that so many respondents believe the biggest opportunities come from advances in engineering techniques and technologies, or digitally enabled skills and competencies," it adds.
Hiring managers should take the following actions, the report advises.
Communicate and clarify
Look at training, mentoring and retention programmes and ensure that they are readily accessible, well understood and focused on meeting employee needs and ambitions. That may also require putting together a robust defence of training staff during a downturn to prevent a repeat of previous talent-draining episodes.
Step up on STEM
Ensure that employment brands include a renewed focus on the use of innovative engineering techniques, smart digital technologies and the pivot to the energy transition. These are all appealing to the young people, graduates and apprentices with STEM qualifications that all sectors need to attract and retain.
Focus on flexibility
Some employees will be delighted to return to normal working days. Some will not. Remote working is set to accelerate, and hybrid teams are likely to be the way forward. Hiring managers will need to work with team leaders to ensure that everyone is engaged, supported, and motivated regardless of how they choose.
5 Mins With ... Travis Parigi, CEO of LiquidFrameworks
ServiceMax, a leader in asset-centric field service management, has bought LiquidFrameworks, the mobile field operations management solutions company, specialising in the energy industry, from Luminate Capital Partners, a private equity firm. The acquisition enables ServiceMax to expand its field service management solutions to meet the unique challenges of the energy sector. Travis Parigi, CEO of LiquidFrameworks, reflects on the mutual benefits from the deal and how oilfield service providers can transform their legacy field operations management processes to digital systems
Briefly outline how the LiquidFrameworks acquisition benefits both companies?
Both companies are focused on providing solutions to a common business problem, field service management for enterprise organisations, using a common technology platform, Salesforce. There are rich opportunities across both companies to leverage people, knowledge and many years of domain and technical expertise that will undoubtedly benefit the combined product suite.
LiquidFrameworks will continue to support its customers through this combination with ServiceMax, further extending its competitive differentiation across the field service management landscape. On the other hand, this acquisition will better position ServiceMax to meet the demand for digital service execution in this industry while expanding its product portfolio and go-to-market channels.
How can oilfield service providers transform their legacy field operations management processes to digital systems?
Moving from legacy, paper-based systems often siloed in various departments to a digital process can be done in phases across one or more product lines on a location-by-location basis. We find that companies achieve the best results by leveraging the FieldFX product suite as the platform to deliver the most domain-specific functionality to their user base as quickly as possible yielding high ROI through increased cash flow, revenue recapture, invoice accuracy and labor reduction.
Companies often start by modeling the complexities and mechanics of their global price books and customer-specific price books using the FieldFX CPQ engine. As the foundation for all transactions the Price Books are used throughout the logical next steps of rolling out digital processes for Quoting, Scheduling, Ticketing, Timecards and Invoicing. Asset Management plays an important role as a common thread found throughout all of the modules and processes.
Field Technicians are responsible for delivering service to the customer along with operating new digital systems - anything more specific, which systems or new technologies (eg AI/ML) should they be targeting?
In the oil and gas industry the field technician or field engineer is responsible for leading the crew that delivers the service such as an open hole wireline job or a casing job or a pressure pumping service performed on location for the customer at the well site in the case of the upstream oil and gas industry.
In the case of the downstream industry, the service might be a hydro-blasting job to clean a heat exchanger at a refinery.
In either case, the field engineer must safely and effectively complete the complex and often times dangerous service for the customer during which time they must also complete various business process to track the work being executed in order that the back office can accurately invoice for the service. The FieldFX Mobile product from LiquidFrameworks enables the field engineer to track the required information for both operational data and financial data in a manner that is fast, effective and easy.
Does the post-COVID landscape provide a new start for digital field service management? What should be companies' immediate priorities?
With the recent layoffs and the workforce getting younger, the oil and gas industry is at the cusp of transformation. The oil and gas industry has been slowly digitising for many years now, but with the pandemic, this push has accelerated a pivot and implemented new ways of working.
When it comes implementing digital field service management, companies need to have a vision of totality across the organisation but be nimble and agile about taking bite-size chunks to effect change – take the highest return on investment items and divide them up and down into the service line and geography level – for the highest probability of success.