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Hundreds of thousands of mature, highly experienced and knowledgeable oil and gas workers are expected to retire within the next five to seven years and take with them valuable project and asset information, creating a significant knowledge and skills gap.

‘The Great Crew Change’ is a term commonly used to describe the oil and gas industry’s ageing workforce. It’s estimated that 50% of the industry’s personnel are part of the ‘older crew’ category, who will be eligible to retire within the next ten years. With such a large portion of the industry’s personnel set to exit, there is an impending age and skills gap on the horizon.

Organizations should have in place or be developing a succession plan to ensure they are able to meet the challenges and opportunities that will accompany the exodus of their most experienced employees. Mentoring programs, workforce training initiatives and new employee engagement strategies will go a long way to addressing the skills gap. However, this does not address the loss of valuable asset and project knowledge when retirees depart.

Digitalization helps preserve asset data

Forward thinking companies are investing in smart cloud-based technologies such as digital twins that can help them capture and securely store data. Real-time online platforms, such as FutureOn’s FieldTwin and FieldTwin Design, gather and maintain data within one single central digital space. Centralizing data this way helps to break up traditionally siloed data streams whilst making them more accessible.

Advanced digital twin technologies provide users with real-time data from design concept through to decommissioning and ultimately abandonment. Teams from across different disciplines and at various stages in the project’s lifecycle can access the same up-to-date information no matter where they are in the world.

Digitalization not only helps secure and preserve asset knowledge, it also supports the next generation of engineering talent in designing smarter and cleaner assets. Digitalization strategies are already, or are soon to be, a top priority for organizations across the industry where there is mounting pressure to increase the value of assets and deliver higher revenues.

Boost engineer satisfaction and develop your talent

 Losing talent to retirement is not the only challenge facing oil and gas employers. There is also a major skills shortage looming and there simply isn’t enough top talent to go around. Attracting, securing and retaining skilled and experienced workers has never been harder, which is why employers should be focusing on creating a modern forward-thinking work environment where people feel able to thrive and expand their skill-set.

Digitalization has an important role in helping build this type of workplace. According to research by Accenture, digitalization can help boost engineer satisfaction and improve retention rates because workers are eager to upskill into the new roles created through digitalization. Stephanie Rogers, managing director at Accenture, said that employers who do not embrace the digital-era or provide training opportunities risk losing their best people to companies that do.

FutureOn’s E-learning portal provides users with the opportunity to continue their education by providing users with a comprehensive learning and development path to become an expert in the use of FieldTwin Design. On successful completion of the course, users are offered the option to become certified in the software. Having opportunities for career growth and development are often identified by HR managers as a key factor when it comes to determining employee engagement and job satisfaction.

Similarly, workers are more likely to favour a role where they have the digital tools they need to excel at their job rather than one that is significantly more laborious due to management’s resistance to digital progress. Digitally mature workplaces with a focus on the future of work will scoop up the very best workers the oil and gas’s shrinking talent pool has to offer.

Contact FutureOn today to find out how our cloud-based platforms can help your company preserve asset knowledge, speed up your path to digital maturity and offer your employees the opportunity to develop their skill-set.