Six charts on the talent gap challenge in the oil & gas sector

10 November 2020 4 min. read

A new report from EY sheds light on the state of the workforce in the oil & gas sector. The report’s main conclusion: companies need to adapt and upskill their workforce if they want to be successful in enabling their digital transformation agenda. Six charts summarising the main findings.

According to the survey, nearly half (46%) of companies, on average, do not have the skills within their current workforce to realise the investment on their adopted technologies. On average, the gap between importance and maturity is 36%.

For instance, the increasing availability of big-data analytics and insights was cited by 43% of executives as one of the top three trends that will positively impact their company’s business growth in the next three years. Yet, the gap between strategic importance and maturity of key skills was one of the widest on data analytics at 59%.

Skill importance vs. current maturity

The greatest shortfall is on arguably the most important digital technology: artificial intelligence (AI), a critical and potentially game-changing technology given its role in taking advantage of big data. Without AI, it is doubtful companies can take full advantage of the sheer volume of data other digital technologies either generate or rely upon.

Data science ranks second in terms of future skills gaps, followed by design thinking and data analytics.

Skill availability today and access to skills in the future

So how are executives and HR leaders addressing the changing skill needs? Clear is that companies are deploying a smattering of strategies to account for these gaps. Currently, most efforts are focused on ways to automating activities, ways to collaborate with other businesses and organisations, and helping employees with learning on the job.

Companies are using a variety of strategies to address changing skill needs

Reskilling employees is obviously another major strategy. Here, executives recognise the enormity of the reskilling challenge – they estimate nearly 60% of workers will need to be reskilled to maintain competitive advantage.

On average, it will take 10 months to reskill the average worker, with nearly half of executives (48%) expecting it to take a year or longer.

43% of the workforce will be reskilled

Given the evolving nature of technologies and the demand on skills across industries, workers will need a combination of formal training, on-demand microlearning, experiential learning and apprenticeship to build the necessary skills at all levels of the organisation.

According to EY, “this requires companies to rethink their learning maps and leadership development programs. Building digital fluency cannot be left unplanned, unmanaged or unmonitored.”

Reskilling initiatives will come with significant organisational barriers, including organisational structure, governance and mindset. To enable the breakthroughs necessary, shared commitment across executive leadership – business, human resources, digital – is needed to address these gaps with the urgency necessary to complete an organisational renaissance.

Enablers and barriers of skills development

Challenges to reskilling include competing priorities, the time needed to reskill, and lack of funding, among others.

Challenges to reskilling

Commenting on the report’s findings, Tim Haskell, a partner at EY, said: “The oil and gas sector is now at a critical juncture in which the role of technology will only accelerate, the volume of data will only grow and competition for talent will only increase. It’s not enough for companies to simply spend more on technology. Investment in the workforce is needed to scale and integrate technologies and ultimately capture the intended value.”

EY’s report, titled ‘Oil & Gas Digital Transformation and the Workforce Survey 2020’, is based on respondents from North America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific.