Jan 12, 2021

Employers and employees "on parity" with digital technology

GETI
Talent
DigitalTransformation
Dominic Ellis
3 min
GETI Report 2021 found petrochemicals, power and renewables firms proactively growing digital but nuclear needs to catch up, according to respondents
GETI Report 2021 found petrochemicals, power and renewables firms proactively growing digital but nuclear needs to catch up, according to respondents...

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.

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