Latest News

Thinking differently is the oil and gas recruitment answer

This week energy services company PSN (Production Services Network) said the only way to secure the resources necessary to complete all of Australia’s LNG, coal-bed methane, and oil and gas projects is to “think differently”.

Speaking on Tuesday at the 2009 APPEA Conference in Darwin, Bob Keiller, PSN Chief Executive Officer said the continuous war for talent is one of the oil and gas sector’s biggest challenges.

“Some global oil and gas projects are being deferred, but Australia still has significant projects on the drawing board which require considerable numbers of skilled people,” he said.

“With the Australian government forecasting a shortfall of 22,000 graduates by 2018, the answer for recruiting in the oil and gas sector is to think differently. Importing talent from overseas is not the entire answer to meeting Australia’s resourcing requirements.

“Talent is out there, it’s just in unusual places. Companies must look for people in industries like telecommunications, nuclear and the armed forces, which share synergies with the oil and gas industry. Many talented people in these industries run big teams and budgets, and tackle logistical, safety and human resources issues on a daily basis. Their skills are incredibly transferable and bring a fresh perspective to our industry.

“We developed a number of successful innovative training programs, including our Re-engineer Career Conversion program in Scotland, which enables us to transition highly skilled personnel into the oil and gas industry in just eight weeks.”

PSN’s Re-engineer program equips people with the skills required to ensure a safe and effective start in their new career and is particularly popular with people from the armed forces. In its first two years of operation, PSN took 35 ex-service people and turned them into offshore electrical, mechanical and instrument technicians.

“People want to work for the best — they want environments which nurture innovation, nurture their careers and offer both challenges and opportunities. And importantly, they want a company that walks the talk when it comes to its culture,” said Keiller.

In the last year, PSN maintained an employee retention rate of around 99 per cent per month and this is largely accredited to its strong corporate culture.

“At PSN we have a strong corporate DNA which makes people want to stay. We’re a genuine values based organisation where our seven core values, including health and safety, innovation and integrity, form the basis of everything we do. I believe it’s this proposition which has allowed us to grow our business by 2,000 employees in the past two years,” Keiller said.

“We’ve turned down good business opportunities in the Niger Delta and in central and southern Iraq because they were inconsistent with our health and safety values. Our people understand that our values are common currency — they bind us together and give us a strength which sets us apart from our competitors. Our culture

is a key competitive advantage, which not only attracts recruits but also new business opportunities.”

The answer to resourcing Australia up to meet its future demands for skilled oil and gas recruits may very well lie in moving the work, not the workforce. PSN’s business is structured as a global network with different teams in different countries operating in the same way, with the same processes, bound by a common culture of helping each other.

“Our operating model enables work to be carried out at different nodes in our network, without the wasteful hiring and firing as local workflow demands fluctuate. We have a fully-networked global pool of engineering problem solvers operating across 26 countries, so instead of continually moving people, we move the work.

This enables us to draw on our global expertise, while combining it with local knowhow,” said Keiller.

“This was recently demonstrated by a problem our Sakhalin-based team had, by using the power of our network, our Melbourne, Singapore and Aberdeen teams were able to resolve the problem without any interruption to our client’s business.

“We take pride in thinking differently to secure and shield our talent, and in being an industry leader in developing local talent in each of our markets to ensure that skilled, passionate people are available to customers wherever they need it.”

Send this to a friend