Mideast 'faces energy sector staff shortage'
Dubai, July 4, 2011
The Middle East is facing a shortage of talent in the energy and utilities sector with the average age of key technical staff being over 50, says a study.
Succession planning in the energy sector is a key imperative, says the Deloitte white paper on Energy and Resources in the Middle East titled ‘Never mind the Reserves, what about the People’.
Kenneth McKellar, partner and Middle East energy and resources leader at Deloitte in the Middle East, states: “In the recent past, national oil companies in the Middle East had to compete with other regions of the world for the best available human resources from their partners, the International Oil Companies (IOCs) who positioned their best exploration and production talent at the more technologically challenging areas such as the deep water Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, West Africa, the Caspian, and emerging areas of Asia Pacific. Today, IOCs are attracted by the size, availability and stability of the resources available in the Middle East region.”
The white paper reiterates that the Middle East has a special challenge pertaining to talent in the energy and utilities sector.
“The scarcity of Middle Eastern nationals in meaningful employment in the energy and utilities sector is beginning to be urgently addressed by governments in the GCC countries, by compelling organizations to take minimum quotas of nationals and funding educational and vocational programs to provide a stream of future talent for the industry,” he said.
McKellar added: “Succession planning is a key imperative. Today, the average age of technical staff within the energy and resources industry is over 50. In order to address that problem, companies should identify and fast track potential young employees according to their technical and business development skills.”
The white paper reveals some tactics that national oil companies are using to address the nationalisation and skills issue, such as sponsoring continuing education, a key element in staff development and retention. Last year, Saudi Aramco paid for the education of 1,922 graduate and undergraduate Saudi students, including 1,138 in North America, 439 in Europe, and 217 in Saudi Arabia itself.
“Unless companies are able to attract and train well-motivated nationals, the current situation, under which the Middle East energy and utilities industry is restricted by talent shortages, will continue. It is unsustainable in the long- or even medium-term to have key functions in the energy and utilities sector being carried out by transient expatriate labour and even less tenable for consultants and contractors to play roles which should really be occupied by nationals,” he said. – TradeArabia News Service