Millennial Values: Building Passion for an Oil and Gas Career in the Next Generation
The coffee-wielding tech-savvy socially-aware millennial employee often gets a bad rap for being a disloyal entitled complainer yet they are the future, and the present, of the workforce so the question is: where do millennials fit in oil and gas?
Matt Campbell and Crystal Thompson from KPMG's People & Change Advisory team discuss how to bridge the disconnect between millennial views on the oil and gas industry and real career opportunity.
In general, what do millennials think about working in the oil and gas industry?
Millennials aren’t alone in having a few misconceptions about oil and gas (O&G). Research indicates that more recent generations tend to view O&G as an industry in decline rather than an innovative sector in which to build a future. They view O&G as doing more harm to the environment and society than good.
These misconceptions are likely keeping some millennial talent from exploring O&G careers. When you ask millennials to identify their preferred workplace, they often name employers in technology, public service, and corporate social responsibility. Oil and gas simply do not make their list because they don’t think it matches their values.
How do millennial values differ from those of previous generations?
Millennials, generally speaking, prize purpose and meaning in their careers. There is a preference to join and stay with companies that clearly articulate their principles. According to Gallup:
- 71% of millennials who know what the company stands for and the difference from competitors stay for at least one year.
- 87% say that professional development or career growth opportunities are very important. They will also change companies to gain that experience.
Millennials tend to seek more work-life balance. Their careers are not necessarily the most important part of their lives. When at the office, they typically prefer collaborative efforts to solitary work, as well as diverse colleagues and perspectives.
A key point for oil and gas companies to remember is that this generation grew up with ubiquitous technology. They want their employers’ technology to be up to date and on par with the technology they use in their personal lives.
- 93% say that a business having the latest technology is an important value proposition when choosing a workplace
- 42% would leave if the tech was substandard.
Aren’t there as many misconceptions about the millennial workforce as there are about the industry?
Certainly. You will hear some say that millennials have no loyalty. Yet, while they are more willing to move for the right opportunity, their job tenure is no shorter than that of Generation X.
In fact, research shows that millennials share a number of the same career goals with prior generations such as wanting to make a positive impact on their organizations, just like the baby boomers before them, and working with a diverse group of people, just like Gen X.
It is important to view millennials as individuals, rather than one monolithic group, while at the same time acknowledging their needs and values for the life stage they are in.
What should the oil and gas industry be doing in order to attract talent within this generation to the industry?
To reiterate, O&G should consider tailoring its employee value proposition to appeal to this workforce population. O&G companies need to support a work environment that matches millennial values. Some key points:
First, compensation alone will not attract groups like millennials.
Millennials are identified as one of the most charitable generations in history. The focus on giving offers organizations a unique opportunity to refocus their employer brand by articulating a social mission. This will not only differentiate themselves from competitors but also align with candidates seeking a cause.
Some O&G organizations may need to redefine their core competencies.
By redesigning and communicating new career-progression opportunities, companies can reinforce their commitment to the current workforce. This engages and retains talent while attracting employees with the new skills needed in the future.
New technology creates opportunities to attract innovation and career-focused employees.
As O&G organizations shift their employee base toward higher-value work like strategy and analytics, and away from repetitive, manual tasks, they remain relevant in the marketplace. The availability of more strategic and advisory roles can lead to higher job satisfaction and better retention.
O&G companies should consider developing relationships with local two and four-year universities.
In order to create a pipeline of fresh talent, offering internship programs and externship programs as well as sponsoring events like hackathons and design sprints will cause more attraction.
Millennials Belong in Oil and Gas
The bottom line is that millennials are invaluable to the O&G workforce. Industry leaders can help combat misperceptions by sharing stories from current employees that demonstrate a positive experience, including that O&G offers some of the most innovative and rewarding career opportunities of any industry.