Young Professionals PerSPEctives

The forum questions were answered by two selected young professionals of different nationalities and primary work locations, Jeihui Wu and John Okoroafor.

  Jeihui Wy
30, China
Reservoir Engineer

John Okoroafor
28, Nigeria
Rig Optimization Engineer
Elf Petroleum Nigeria

What are the factors that contribute the most to boosting China’s and India’s economies?

Their availability of cheap labor and their unique skills and education.

India and China have large populations. These large numbers of people are involved in diverse industries and have the skills to support their industries. Their culture is also a contributing factor, as the family orientation places emphasis on education.

Their availability of cheap labor and their attitude toward work.

India has been called the back office of the world with Fortune 500 companies migrating customer service functions like call centers, billing, and technical support to the Electronic City, Bangalore. Companies in Western countries, where there are high turnover rates for skilled employees, have had to rely on the emerging economies of China and India for cheap skilled labor. China and India make up one-third of the world’s population (2 billion/6 billion), and their currencies have remained relatively flat against the U.S. dollar. In addition, the unemployment rate of both countries is unofficially at 20%, and that has made the labor force have less attrition.
China and India appear to be on a path of strong and sustainable growth. What, if anything, might knock them off this path?

Energy shortages and political instability.

Due to their numerous industries, they rely a lot on energy; hence, a shortage in energy could affect their growth. Also, they are on the average politically stable, and changes in their political status could also affect their strong growth path.

Energy shortages and political instability.

Lack of electricity is a key hindrance to sustainable growth. Currently, China consumes 2.19 trillion kW-hr of electricity but produces only 2.17 trillion kW-hr. That means that a substantial amount of money is used to import electricity. If the infrastructure exists, then companies would channel resources to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their business, rather than sourcing for energy solutions. In recent developments, India has had to deal with insecurity from the Kashmir region as well as militant and separatist groups seeking greater communal and regional autonomy. Similarly, China is dealing with the Falungong, a subversive group.
Emerging countries consume more than half of the world’s energy and have accounted for 80% of the growth in oil demand over the past 5 years. We work in the energy business and in the future may have to face the problem of global energy shortages. Which of the following statements is most correct?


Tension and fear of energy shortages has and will always exist—it is the main reason for changing geopolitics. India and China, the two emerging economies, will also use other forms of energy (coal, hydro, etc.) to keep moving in a not-so-fast pace until they have an alternative sustainable source of energy.

Rapid development of emerging economies will create such a supply shortage that it will lead to an economic breakdown.

As highlighted above, China and India make up one-third of the world’s population and also consume high amounts of energy resources (oil, electricity, natural gas). These countries are consuming more energy than they are producing. Our company can work with the governments of these nations to develop alternative energy solutions as well as assist them in managing their existing reserves.
Would India or China be on your preferred list of future work locations? I am currently working in one of these locations. Probably not, I prefer to work in developed countries.
The oil and gas sector needs young professionals to solve the “big crew change.” Do you think that the problem of the aging workforce within our industry can be solved by attracting and developing Chinese and Indian YPs in the Western companies?

Probably yes, I like the idea.

It should be good to develop more of these YPs. Every year, large numbers of educated petroleum engineers graduate from Chinese universities. And there are also lots of experienced people in PetroChina/SinoPec/ CNOOC.

Probably yes, I like the idea.

The attraction of YPs should not be based solely on one’s country of origin, but on the potentials and prospects of the young professional. Another point is that a multiethnic/-cultural workforce creates a global perspective, where all involved see things through the eyes of the other person, leading to better understanding of people and cultures.
The oil and gas industry has the potential to access a large number of university-educated young professionals in emerging markets. How can our industry best attract these individuals? High salary. Better working environment. Attractive career future. Attracting these individuals is not a problem in my demographic (Africa), but looking at it from a global perspective, I would like to recommend the “cleaning up” of the industry’s image (image of pollution, corruption, etc.).