By Siddhartha Bhatnagar
VUCA is a popular term used in stringent business condition which stands for Vulnerability, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. City Gas Distribution and Pipeline network are the new faces of the Oil and Gas sector. The sector faces a calamitous demand supply gap and is failing to meet its current requirement. Bumper production of KGD6 basin in 2009 and successful New Exploration License Policy provided strong impetus and projected healthy growth of this sector. However, with rampant decline in domestic gas production and uncertain government policy, it is pretty challenging for the CGD players to recruit new talent who could revitalize the sector with innovative and new ideas. Talent Managers of the CGD firms are facing new challenges to attract the best talent and below are the key challenges.
CGD as a business has suffered due to a rapid decrease of the number of stakeholders involved in it. Policy and regulation uncertainty have derailed many projects and indeed put a stop to new recruitment. It is becoming more and more difficult to retain and attract employees in the absence of a progressive market. Contractual basis work force is also proving difficult for the HR to retain as the surety of new projects is uncertain. With no job security and business in doldrums, HR needs to adapt to combat this problem.
Companies are finding it difficult to attract the best talent as the sector does not look as lucrative as the IT industry. The country has witnessed a large recruitment drive by IT sector from the start of the last decade; it has taken a substantial bulk of engineers from all domains which has made it difficult for sectors like Oil and Gas to lure talent. Recruitment drives are conducted in the farthest corners of the country and a handsome salary is offered to young college graduates. Subsequently, Job location also plays a key role in attracting the aspirants. CGD sector is more confined to the outskirts-remote villages, compared to the ease of metros where IT firms are set up. There are two different faces i.e. the luxurious life of the software engineer sitting in her air-conditioned office as compared to the core sector employee who has to face arduous ground work. The sector is facing the natural consequences of an ageing workforce and requires a healthy balance of young candidates who can fit into their shoes. No organization wants to lose the experienced elite who have a firm hold on the functioning. To tap into generation Y, sectors have emphasized on the establishment of “domain-specific” colleges who provide engineering and MBA degrees for specific sectors like Oil and gas: NTPC, RGPIT etc.
Difficult shift timings in the oil and gas sector, providing 24*7 services necessitate the need for employees used to a relentless work culture. The HR professional has to take proactive steps to ensure the availability of skilled workforce by boosting the Job Description and Job Specification for this unique sector, and describing their safe and effective application in typical industries. We have witnessed recent accidents in the sector where companies tend to focus less on the safety operations.
An adverse business situation has a direct influence on the functioning of management aspects i.e. finance, marketing, operations as well as HR. Innovative HR practices such as designing suitable reward systems, nurturing an environment of employee engagement and empowerment is essential for mitigating the attrition of the industry. In an era where the IT industry is doing pretty well in turbulent times, it is very essential for talent managers of the challenging and demanding oil and gas sector to lure employees and project it to remain attractive. Monetary benefits may be less but there are other instruments like job location which may seem handy. Capitalizing on the geographical domain and attracting local candidates will be instrumental while attracting candidates to this sector.
Globalization, mergers and acquisitions, technological advancement, frontier and new production development, changing demographics and regulatory requirements all challenge the oil and gas industry’s ability to attract, develop and retain a skilled workforce. New and innovative processes of attracting new talents from sector-specific colleges, introducing job dynamism with no static work profile and frequent skills enhancement program are the few key measures that are being rolled out in recent times.
He is currently pursuing MBA in Energy and Infrastructure from School Of Petroleum Management, Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University Gandhinagar, Gujarat. He has completed B.Tech (I.T.) from Jaypee University of Information Technology, H.P. and was engaged with Infosys as Senior Systems Engineer. He believes India is energy scarce country and it needs personnel who can understand the complexity in this sector. A deep research mindset, voracious reading, and ability to simplify things will prove handy and that is where his contributions incline.
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