In the midst of COVID-19, digital trends have intensified the transformation of the oil industry. Proving the urgent need for reskilling and shaping the oilfield workforce.  The global pandemic has challenged the way almost every industry operates. Oilfield service companies have faced a variety of issues, including a historic drop in oil prices. The realization of digital evolution has become a priority, and investments in technology are happening. However, financing new tools won’t pay off if enterprises don’t have the necessary people or skills to use them.  

In a world where today’s future may not be tomorrow’s reality, a powerful workforce strategy is essential. Empowering the oilfield workforce to prepare for upcoming changes will help organizations become agile enough to establish digital technologies, achieve and sustain competitive advantages quickly.

Oil and gas digital transformation 

Operational disruptions have been a significant outcome during the COVID-19 crisis; therefore, companies are looking to enlarge their digital integration. The vast irregular production and reduced demand have created a new marketplace where oil prices would likely remain low for a while. The present situation puts the future of the oil industry in an urgent need to decrease its costs for a predictable hereafter. Fortunately, the rapid development of digital technologies offers feasible solutions. In fact, 90 percent of oil and gas managing directors either agreed or firmly admitted that their companies require investment in technology and workforce. 

Becoming a first mover by embracing oil and gas digital transformation will help companies acquire competitive advantages under current market conditions. The value that digital tools provide is crucial to remain ahead and even drive the future of the oil industry. Sooner or later, companies will no longer be able to afford a cautious plan. The oil and gas digital transformation offers a variety of options to work efficiently from remote locations. Moreover, preparing the workforce to accelerate necessary changes and support full integration emerges to be essential. 

While leaders of oilfield services welcome the needed digital evolution, getting to where they want to be, compared to where they stand right now, requires a strong workforce development strategy. Therefore, to ensure outstanding results throughout the inevitable oil and gas digital transformation, highlighting the oilfield workforce’s leading role is critical.

Workforce development strategy  

As companies count on digital technology to urge efficiency and productivity into operations, they are also modifying how they operate. Enterprises should underline the need to rethink and reprioritize workforce behaviors, mindsets, and skills. Based on the technical and adaptive skills needed to enable this transformation, the adoption of digital technology should start by questioning how well your workforce is situated. Training and workforce composition are common barriers that stand in the way of obtaining the most value out of digital technologies. Cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data analytics, and several others outrun the degree of operation most oilfield services currently manage. 

The pandemic made us experience a world without locations, and now 43 percent of technology leaders expect more than half of their staff to remain working from home. The possibility to recruit potential talent is now worldwide. Businesses need to treat digital operation as a decisive part of their workforce strategy and scale planning capacities to account for its use. The oilfield workforce requires preparation to face everyday challenges and stay up to date as the industry recovers its strength. 

Resolving where to begin could be the most complicated step. We recommend considering these elements as you plan for an efficient workforce development strategy: 

1. Based on your business strategy, consider the skills your workforce needs most  

When it comes to ranking the most valuable skills for an organization, technology skills might first come to mind. Although engineering skills are undoubtedly necessary, they become more efficient when balanced with adaptive skills. Resilience, creative reasoning, collaboration, and innovation are also critical competences to carry out value from digital initiatives. Access to data is available now more than ever. The need to have people who can be analytical, draw precise conclusions, and make better and faster decisions is imperative. Consider technology skills as much as soft skills, and apply them as broadly and strategically workable. 

2. Review at what level you already have some of those skills

Understanding the breach between where the company is and where it needs to be will provide a more comprehensive vision of its priorities. Benchmarking the workforce against those priorities and what the future requires will help score each individual’s potential. A data-driven assessment could clarify what development areas lead the workers, and offer detailed insights to improve upskilling and hiring decisions. 

3. Decide what resources, partners, and tools are required to achieve your goals  

Once you recognize the labor force demanding approach, decide what type of training best suits workers’ needs and roles. The possibility to explore external companies to guarantee a more precise initiative development is also at hand. Skills that need to be grown organically within the organization could consider mentorship or internal coaching while integrating formal learning with on-the-job experience. 

Shaping the oilfield workforce of the future 

The opening to shape the future of the oilfield workforce structure as humans and machines work together will bring exceptional benefits. Preparing the workforce for AI and related cognitive technologies could be the biggest challenge, and the significant need to reskill the workforce has become a priority. According to the 2019 Global CEO Outlook, managers intend to upskill more than half of their workforce in new digital abilities over the next three years. When attracting or locating external talent is not enough, it has become essential to clearly define what skills are most notably necessary for each organization. 

As the competition for digital talents rises, not many executives have a clear plan to reskill their employees. However, there are other solutions where process automation and collaboration with external organizations have been the answer to solve these problems. The Digital Oil and Gas Solutions company supplies the required skills and expertise to help companies shape the oilfield workforce as they adapt to emerging technologies. With over two decades of experience in the industry, we help organizations become future-proof while creating new business value. Our holistic set of applicable and useful products — designed to address current industry challenges and empower staff — helps our clients accelerate and streamline their progress. 

Understanding that not every skill has to be acquired in-house will make it easier for companies to identify what skills they want to develop locally through upskilling or reshaping. Having a clear vision of what can be outsourced or rented through contingent workers and partners will help focus the necessary efforts toward shaping the future’s oilfield workforce.

Reskilling is not optional 

The conclusion is evident; committing significant resources to reskilling is not optional. On the contrary, getting severe about reskilling programs and workforce development strategies has become crucial to steer the immediate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. To deliver a much-needed digital transformation, oilfield services companies need to prepare their workforce by offering competitive skills programs. Indeed, constant change and evolving technologies force organizations to broaden their view on the labor force and their role in securing the industry’s future. By accelerating adaptive skills, oil and gas companies can pivot more promptly to satisfy future business demands no matter the uncertainty they might face.