The Netherlands: Global Skill Gap and Recruitment Trends

In a well-attended April Young E&P Professionals lecture, Regional Account Manager Jeroen van Drunen of Brunel Energy shared his views on E&P statistics. From 1980 to 2000, there was a downturn in the number of people working in the oil industry. Reasons for this downturn include falling oil prices, mergers, and the introduction of new technologies. The current gap in E&P skills is mainly due to the aging population of the industry. The future hiring need is 38% of the current force of E&P professionals, compared to 28% in other disciplines in the petroleum industry. The threats to fulfilling this hiring need: the predicted instability of oil prices in combination with linked employment levels.

Another major threat, he said, is the negative image of our industry, which discourages new people from entering a petroleum-related career. The solution is to rebrand our industry image through proactive public relations. This can change the perception of our industry and create attraction for new people to join. The responsible parties for establishing this are governments, universities, operators, professional societies, and industry employees who serve as ambassadors of the profession.

Fortunately, there are some attractive opportunities, because high oil prices have led to the opening of new potential areas such as marginal fields and new markets such as Libya. At the same time, new technologies will reduce the risks and costs involved in developing new and existing fields. The main technical areas and associated skills that companies are looking for are 3D/4D-seismic exploration methods, deepwater and subsea technologies, and directional-drilling techniques. With respect to soft skills, languages, overseas experience, and flexibility are highly appreciated. After the presentation, a lively discussion followed, focused on responsibility and awareness of the image of the petroleum industry.

Van Drunen speaks to YEPP group.