With fluctuating oil prices and deep uncertainty, upstream oil and gas companies, operating in Ghana, should develop modern recruitment models that help them stay competitive in the long-run.
Recruitment can be defined as the process of finding, attracting, evaluating, and ultimately selecting or hiring employees. It involves finding the necessary talent that will enable an organisation to develop greater value-creating outcomes. As it stands, within the upstream Oil and Gas industry in Ghana, the right talent can be a source of competitive advantage that can help an organisation withstand the forces of increased competition, fluctuating oil prices, and drastic changes to the operating environment. At CarvinClay, we believe that the current recruiting model employed by companies within the upstream oil and gas industry in Ghana needs to be revamped. The current recruiting model suffers from the following bottlenecks:
These bottlenecks affect the pace of recruiting, which in turn hampers the company’s productivity. In this article, we will use our experience dealing with oil and gas companies in Ghana to present a new framework that we believe can solve for some of the bottlenecks present with the existing recruiting model. We call this framework the CarvinClay Effective Recruitment framework. This framework can reduce costs, improve the through-put and value-creation of recruiting initiatives, and can ultimately lead to improved profit-and-loss outcomes for any oil and gas company in Ghana that chooses to adopt it.
What Is The CarvinClay Effective Recruitment Framework and Why Is It Important?
The oil and gas sector, globally, is suffering from a skills shortage; this has made recruiting for the right roles especially difficult. The industry’s recruiting problems can be linked back to the economic downturn of the 1980’s and 1990’s where oil prices were low for many years. This culminated in the shuttering of numerous oil companies, and led to the layoffs of thousands of skilled workers. These skilled workers opted for careers in more stable industries that were not as exposed to the fluctuations in oil prices and strong uncertainty. Ultimately, this led to a fall in the recruitment of new employees, which translated to less students being interested in taking petroleum engineering courses. The supply of technically skilled labor within the industry was adversely impacted as a result. According to the 2019 Global Energy Talent Index Report, an annual energy employment trends report by Airswift and Energy Jobline, which surveyed nearly 17000 energy professionals, only 4% of their respondents fell in the 18-24 age category whilst 20% of their respondents were aged 55 and above. This highlights the bigger global structural issue in the oil and gas sector; a majority of the talent is aging. Once this population decides to collectively retire; all the accumulated knowledge, experience, and expertise will disappear along with them. This puts a lot of oil and gas companies in a vulnerable position. At CarvinClay, we believe that the existing recruitment models that worked in the past will not work in the future due to the changing dynamics mentioned above. However, we believe that this presents an opportunity for oil and gas companies, that are operating in Ghana, to use recruiting as a way of developing a competitive advantage through the CarvinClay Effective Recruitment framework.
The framework is built on three core strategies. Partnerships between an oil and gas company and academia, outside-of-the-industry thinking, and partnerships with local operators.
(A) Partnerships between Industry and Academia
Weak linkages exist between academia and Industry. A targeted approach leveraging partnerships with educational institutions that offer courses in oil and gas related subjects, such as Takoradi Technical University, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, and Regional Maritime University, could prove to be beneficial for sourcing great talent. Additionally, oil and gas companies could develop special scholarship opportunities for more vocational institutions; such as polytechnics. Creating these partnerships with educational institutions will give existing organisations increased flexibility and leverage with their recruiting models. These organisations can take an active role in creating the highly skilled workers necessary to take up positions across the entire value chain. Given the backdrop of an aging and retiring global population of skilled workers, Ghana’s median population age of 21.5 years is an opportunity for enterprising oil and gas companies to create a skilled talent organisation.
Another strategy that organisations can leverage to enhance their speed of recruitment involves looking outside the box – or in this case; the industry. Talent can be broken up into roughly three areas:
The playbook that we have recommended in part A pertains to entry-level talent. However, there is an opportunity for organisations to deploy cost-effective sourcing initiatives for mid-level talent. These initiatives involve acquiring talent from other extractive industries. Although some of the processes may differ from industry-to-industry, there are common denominators that highlight great talent such as leadership skills; influence; great communication ability; and primary technical competence.
In order to successfully implement this strategy, an organisation would have to develop a strong learning and development programme. This programme would serve two primary purposes. The first purpose is upskilling the prospective employee; a great learning and development programme helps the employee become a productive asset within the organisation at a relatively faster pace while not compromising on educational quality. The second purpose is for recruitment itself; great learning and development programmes attract quality candidates who are looking to increase their competence in order to participate in the upside of higher wages, benefits and status. Therefore, effectively sourcing mid-career professionals from other extractive industries and pairing that with productive learning and development programmes, in addition to an amazing transition experience, could be a big differentiator for an upstream oil and gas company.
(C) Partnerships With Experienced and Vetted Local Operators
In addition to these strategies, oil and gas companies can look to experienced, on-the-ground operators as partners for effective recruitment. As one of the top oil and gas recruitment agencies in Ghana, CarvinClay has a nuanced understanding of what it will take for an oil and gas company to create a competent talent organisation that acts as a competitive advantage instead of a cost-centre. We have observed, first-hand, how gaps in a talent and recruitment strategy can adversely affect an oil and gas company’s effectiveness. From delays in workforce localisation, to increased expatriate costs, and lack of technical competence in existing staff; bad talent strategies lead to the danger of disrupted workflows and going over budget.
The CarvinClay Effective Recruitment framework is our attempt at distilling what we believe to be a novel model of recruitment that can have a host of advantages for the oil and gas companies that choose to adopt it. This framework gives organisations the right levers to pull to create successful and profitable transformations. Ultimately this transformation should lead to step-change improvements in an organisation’s productivity and should become a source of competitive advantage in the long-run.