HUNTING FOR TALENT
Qatar Today talks to experts on how “crew change” is affecting the oil and gas industry.
“Too few companies, not just in Qatar, are addressing the holistic EVP and making sure it is relevant for all generations. One size does not fit all; what works for a baby boomer is not necessarily going to motivate
Global Head of Talent Management, KPMG “Absolutely, there is a shortage of engineers and that too in thousands. It is particularly very pressing in the oil and gas industry as many people are going to retire and they have to be replaced. In addition, there is a need for well-qualified engineers to fuel Qatar’s growth in the next ten years.”
DR MARK WEICHOLD Dean and CEO Teaxs A&M University Qatar
Retirement across the sector and people leaving the industry to move into alternative fields are said to be the main reasons for the shortage of experienced staff, which in turn could slow down the industry's growth in the coming years.
The Qatari government is taking steps to tackle the issue, including increasing salaries of Qatari nationals working in the public sector, in order to lure more locals to join and stay with state-run businesses. However, salary packages across the industry are becoming more lucrative. Interestingly, Qatar's oil and gas sector provides the highest allowances to its employees compared with similar industries in the GCC region.
The government has also been encouraging students to take up science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses in schools and colleges on a large scale, with the aim of them becoming the future workforce in ongoing projects which are likely to be completed in the next few years.
A survey entitled “2014 global talent crisis survey,” undertaken by global consultancy firm KPMG revealed that the number one concern of the energy industry worldwide has been the gap between a retiring workforce and the shortage of experienced, qualified people within the sector to replace them. The research also showed that only 32% of companies had detailed strategic workforce plans and two out of three did not have succession plans. “By focusing on strategic requirements and taking a global view of talent management, oil and chemical companies in Qatar can ensure that they attract and retain the best talent,” the findings said.
Investing in HR
One of the four pillars of Qatar National Vision 2030 is development of human resources. Qatar, which has a high number of expats in the oil and gas workforce, is taking action by diversifying economic activity and investing in harnessing local talent to support the nation's growth.
“Talent shortage in the oil and gas sector is not unique to Qatar. There is increasing competition for people with the same skills from other geographies such as North America and the “crew change” issue is also affecting many employers, i.e. people approaching retirement without experienced people to fill their roles,” says Bolton.
According to him, Qatari companies are addressing the challenge and making real progress. However, the danger is that initiatives can be piecemeal and the real challenge is to redesign the total “Employee Value Proposition” (EVP) in a holistic way, i.e. thinking about all the things that make up the deal between employee and employer and configuring them as an integrated proposition.
HILDA MULOCK HOUWER Partner and Global Head of Advisory, Energy and Natural Resources, KPMG
This is not just about pay and bonuses but also about educational opportunities, career paths, mentoring and the environment at work, among others. “Too few companies, not just in Qatar, are addressing the holistic EVP and making sure it is relevant for all generations. One size does not fit all: what works for a baby boomer is not necessarily going to motivate the generation Y,” he says. To attract more women to the sector, Bolton says that companies need to provide a combination of education and skill-building opportunities. “Perhaps, set up an Oil and Gas Skills Academy for potential woman recruits. The employee value proposition should also be looked at specifically from a woman's point of view,” Bolton says.
There are a number of drivers that are forcing the need for change with employers. Businesses are facing increasing competition and cost pressures requiring greater productivity from their workforce. This linked with an ageing workforce, a drop in the number of students choosing to study alternative industries, increased mobility and high employee expectations, means that employers need to take action.
Bolton feels that there are several key areas that companies should focus on. Changing the approach to recruitment is crucial and HR teams should look to implement global recruitment strategies and examine the way that they build and maintain talent pools.
“HR teams should also focus on aligning with the business - ensuring that all people activities are driven by clear business needs. Governance and infrastructure also play a part. Having the right data on talent and requirements and operating the right systems will provide valuable input. Establishing clear roles and structure within the talent management team and creating the right processes is essential,” he says.
Bolton says that STEM literacy will definitely help but there is a lead time involved before people “come on stream” which still needs to be taken into consideration. And the courses will also highlight other industries which students may be attracted to such as technology, he adds.
KPMG Partner and Global Head of Advisory, Energy and Natural Resources, Hilda Mulock Houwer, says that it is important to develop a framework for managing talent.
“Before leaping in to recruitment, organisations should consider needs, risks, evaluation and investment. Once the foundations are in place, recruitment methods, talent development and engagement are the keys to ensuring that qualified, experienced people stay with the company,” she adds
“Before leaping into recruitment, organisations should consider needs, risks, evaluation and investment. Once the foundations are in place, recruitment methods, talent development and engagement are the keys to ensuring that qualified, experienced people stay with the company.”
Qatar Today talks to experts on how “crew change” is affecting
Qatar’s oil and gas industry.