As the oil and gas industry prepares for a worldwide “crew change” during the next several years, problems such as generation gap, retention, succession and sustainability will inevitably need to be solved. These issues, along with many others, will be addressed by the very people expected to eventually lead the industry.
The World Petroleum Council’s fourth Youth Forum, which is expected to attract 1,500 young professionals between the ages of 20 and 35 from more than 65 countries, takes place in Calgary later this month. The forum aims to offer a global perspective on industry best practices, technological advancements, corporate social responsibility and financing. Attendees will be given the opportunity to develop solutions to current key issues and foreseeable challenges.
“The generation that’s being targeted at this forum is exactly who [the industry] wants. They’re young, ambitious engineers and finance people and tradespeople who will help fill that gap going forward,” said Robin Greschner, investor relations and communications advisor at Lightstream Resources Ltd. in Calgary. “I think the industry also recognizes that it might need to shift in order to attract and retain that talent.”
Greschner, who sits on the board of directors for the Canadian Association of the World Petroleum Council and chairs the Youth Committee, will participate in a panel titled “Careers and Capacity: The New Face of Energy.”
Greschner said organizations need to recognize the individual needs of each generation and be flexible to reward and develop them. “This labor force is probably the most generationally diverse that we’ve ever had…and we can’t necessarily rely on what we’ve done in the past to retain all generations because I think an organization needs them all,” she said. “Each brings their own unique value to the organization, so it’s how do you attract each of them, retain them, and encourage cross-generational collaboration.”
Topics range from Arctic exploration to women in energy. Speakers include Alberta premier Alison Redford, CNPC chairman Zhou Jiping and author/clinical psychologist Meg Jay. But the gathering is also intended to provide young professionals from across the industry with a platform to exchange ideas.
“Often you go to events that are very ‘siloed,’ and I think bringing everyone together in the same room is a great approach,” Greschner said. “Because the industry and the challenges aren’t ‘siloed.’ It requires all types to come up with the best solutions.”
The World Petroleum Council Youth Forum takes place Oct. 22-25. For information and registration, visit www.wpccanada.com/youthforum.