How to Fuel the Next Generation

The energy industry is undergoing a major transformation, known as the Great Crew Change, an industry-wide gap in middle-level managers stemming from the oil bust of the 1980s and, more recently, from the 2014 downturn. Older workers are retiring, and younger workers must decide whether to take their place. As Baby Boomers age and head into retirement, attracting and retaining a newer, younger workforce is crucial for advancing the oil and gas industry. On the latest episode of Energy to Business, host Daniel Litwin moderates a panel discussion with three young professionals at Opportune LLP—Virginia Chan, Director, Sam Stewart, Manager, and Trey Brasseaux, Associate—as they share their perspectives on how and why the industry is changing.

The group first discuss their internships and address their first impressions of the industry. “It was not as technologically focused as I thought and knew it needed some innovation,” Stewart says.

“It was at a growth phase where returns were highly valued. Now that’s not the case.

Returning cash to shareholders and environmental concerns are the focus,” Brasseaux adds.

When seeking out a career in the energy industry, they all had different yet similar motivations.

“I was looking for a position to gain transferrable skills, which I recommend for anyone in their career,” Brasseaux notes.

Chan adds, “I was looking for a company well-positioned for the ups and downs of the industry. I learned there were many more opportunities than just engineers or operators.”

With young professionals now making up most of the energy workforce, concerns about Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) aspects, sustainability, and improving the world are front-of-mind, not just by young professionals, but it’s being embraced by more and more organizations too.

“It’s an absolute priority,” Brasseaux says. “You’ll see that it’s like number one after financial return. [ESG] is one of the biggest shifts that we’ve seen.”

Stewart adds that it’s important for young professionals to remain relevant online once they begin their energy career to network, cement themselves as a subject matter expert by getting involved in thought leadership and forge relationships.

“I would say if I could talk to any young professionals, I would just say, ‘Hey, stay involved, grow your network, and just stay relevant’.”

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