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The US oil and gas industry has long faced interesting staffing challenges with its boom-or-bust business cycles and notorious sector-wide mass layoffs. In the past, oil companies overcame the obstacles with high pay during boom times. That may not be enough for new university graduates coming into the workforce now and the industry may face an existential crisis in hiring young staff. According to this article in The Wall Street Journal:

“Good news from the oil patch: Jobs are plentiful and salaries are soaring. The bad news is that young people still aren’t interested. Even as oil-and-gas companies post record profits, the industry is facing a worsening talent drought. At U.S. colleges, the pool of new entrants for petroleum-engineering programs has shrunk to its smallest size since before the fracking boom began more than a decade ago… 

Students and high-skilled young workers are concerned about the industry’s role in climate change, as well as long-term job security given that global economies are transitioning away from fossil fuels to other energy sources, according to executives, analysts and professors. The trend is a stark departure from previous cycles, when the industry’s workforce ebbed and flowed with the rise and fall of oil prices…

‘People are concerned they won’t have a job in 10 to 20 years.'” 

That last sentence puts things in a practical perspective much more than some of the other takes about how job seekers consider corporate climate actions in their job searches. It is a compelling enough thought for any company to consider – and be prepared to address head-on – in recruiting and retaining young talent.

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile