This article was originally published on UPSTART360 by Nermin Saleemi.

 

The way we do things has rapidly evolved; we are now a society of people on the go, infinitely linked to smart devices and the social and information connections they provide. Our new habits permeate into every aspect of our lives, including our careers. Is the oil & gas industry poised to take advantage of these trends to help fill an important need – recruiting?

This article, the first in a three part series in UPSTART NOW, examines the challenges the oil and gas industry faces today with talent and recruiting, current recruiting trends and how the industry measures against them.

Wanted: Workers

There are currently about five million skilled trade workers in the oil and gas industry in North America. This is a staggering number, but it is not nearly enough. In fact, the industry’s need for workers is growing at a faster rate than its talent pool; new positions are coming about while a significant portion of the current workforce is approaching retirement age.

To meet current needs and ensure the success of future ones, the industry must employ a two-pronged strategy. First, it must recruit and retain Millennials (workers born between 1980 – 2000). As Boomers move toward retirement, finding workers with the right experience is a significant challenge. The answer lies with Millennials. Secondly, the industry must develop a pipeline of college students and recent graduates to secure the talent needed for future growth and success.

The Way Forward

In the pursuit of hot talent, the industry needs to take a closer look at how to reach the right candidates in a quickly-evolving marketplace. Today, candidates are looking for more than just a job description; they want to get a feel for life with the prospective employer including an understanding of their culture, community involvement and more. At the same time, the oil & gas industry must find a way to seem relevant and breathe fresh life into a vertical that is considered by many to be slow to adopt new HR technologies.

So how will the industry connect with Millennials and recruit college and graduate students in an engaging and convenient manner? One answer is mobile and social recruiting.

As the race to find the right talent speeds up, using social media and mobile technology can make recruiting more efficient, increase the involvement of potential candidates, present a modern picture of the company, and help build a strong talent pipeline. It also provides a more targeted inroad to the specialized talent that the industry requires.

The Mobile Hunt

Mobile is what makes companies current. The proliferation of smart devices has made searching easy for a generation that is always on – a recent study (1) indicates that 77 percent of job seekers surveyed are using it for this very purpose. Not only is it easier to search for jobs on the go, it also provides a level of privacy not available from company-issued devices. The key lies in giving potential candidates what they want – an easy way to access and respond to listings from their mobile device.

What’s more, a well-designed career site can encourage interest on the part of applicants. After all, it’s simply another marketing tool that provides a snapshot of the company in an offhand manner. In fact, simply having a mobile site makes a statement about the company: it’s modern, it’s invested in the future, and it’s interested in your convenience.

Oil & Gas Job Search, a leading site that aggregates open positions for the industry, led the way last year with one of the first mobile apps for users in the space. The app provides an easy, free way for applicants to not only apply to job listings, but to also receive push notifications with new listings, an invaluable tool for aggressive seekers in a competitive market.

The Social Experiment

Social Media provides a ready platform for companies to engage with candidates. In fact, the target audience is already there. The possibilities are myriad, social networking can be used to pull and push communication to generate employee referrals, facilitate training programs, share information during research and development projects, and provide insights into company objectives and activities.

LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook all provide various flavors of social media that can be leveraged for a wide range of activity – from sharing content to issuing thought leadership messages to the more basic function of listing open jobs. Perhaps most importantly, social media provides a way for companies to project an image of their culture, as much a part of the compensation package to the current job seeker as anything else.

Companies such as HalliburtonShell and Chevron are using social media to project various sides of their complex entities, having made more traction with social media than with mobile technology.

Is the Oil & Gas Industry Maximizing Mobile – Social Trends?

  • Smartphone usage grew 50 percent from 2011 to 2012
  • This year, smartphones will be ranked as the number one method used to access the internet
  • 93 percent of Millennials, a target audience for the oil and gas industry, are online
  • Millennials have the highest social network presence of any generation; in fact, 75 percent have a Facebook account
  • Half of twitter users are Millennials
  • In 2012, 88 percent of Fortune 500 companies did not have a mobile career section on their websites.
  • A recent study listing the “50 Most Social Media Friendly Fortune 500 Companies,” did not include any oil and gas companies on their list. (2)
  • Another recent study indicates that of the 61 Fortune 500 oil and gas companies, only 13 percent have a mobile presence.  Of those companies, none are enabled to receive mobile applications. (3)

 

The Mobile Social Continuum

Early adopters are already building campaigns that bank on the benefits of both, but a large gap remains that the oil and gas industry can and should work to effectively bridge. The companies that succeed in delivering the right message to the mobile candidate in a compelling way are the ones that will get ahead in their recruiting goals, ultimately creating a more successful company.

In the next issue of UPSTART NOW, we will take a closer look at the opportunities available with mobile recruiting for the oil and gas industry.

 

1 – How Job Seekers Are Using Mobile, Mashable,  2 – Top 50 Most Social Media Friendly Fortune 500 Companies, OnlineMBApage.com, 3 – Trends in Mobile Adoption, CareerBuilder.com