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How To Prepare Energy Workers For Market Volatility

June 30, 2021
Austin, TX

Job Security Can Be Hard To Find In the Energy Industry

Regardless of which part of the industry you operate in, levels of employment are always prone to fluctuations.

A wide range of energy industries – including Oil & Gas, Wind, and Solar – have all witnessed notable increases and declines in job numbers in recent years.

But energy businesses are taking steps to make themselves more adaptable to these changing fortunes. For example, major oil companies have started investing in renewable technologies in an effort to clean up the economy, with many of them pumping billions into clean energy projects.

As major oil companies switch their focus to renewables, it’s not surprising that the number of jobs in the Oil & Gas sector has recently decreased. In 2020, the sector shed around 120,000 jobs.

Given this scenario, it is vital that energy workers are given the training they need to adapt to working in other parts of the sector.

However, training provisions are oftentimes inadequate.

The Impacts of Energy Market Volatility on the Workforce

With a further decline in the Oil & Gas labor force expected this year – according to some projections, the number of US Oil & Gas jobs could fall from 960,000 to 950,000 in 2021. Hence, many Oil & Gas workers face an uncertain future.

As Workrise’s soon-to-be-published white paper, How to Retrain Energy Workers to Plug Skills Gaps, highlights, most Oil & Gas workers are ready to retrain. In fact, the vast majority say they would consider moving to a job outside of the Oil & Gas industry.

But a problem remains. While many Oil & Gas workers have an appetite for retraining in order to work in the renewables sector, many have said there is insufficient investment in such programs.

What’s Going Wrong With Training Provisions?

A study conducted by Platform, the social and environmental research organization, pinpointed concerns among Oil & Gas workers about the “inadequate investment” in development and training opportunities.

Among the study’s key findings were:

  • Most Oil & Gas workers would like to receive training or some form of support to leave the industry.
  • Demand exists for training that facilitates the transfer of skills from the Oil & Gas industry to the renewables sectors.
  • Oil & Gas workers feel that in downturns in previous years, accessing training has been difficult and has often imposed unreasonable financial burdens.
  • Re-training opportunities offered in the past have involved “red tape” that is extremely difficult to navigate.
  • It is important to develop skills and retraining programs in consultation with Oil & Gas workers.

It’s clear that, despite many Oil & Gas workers expressing an interest in retraining to work in other areas of the energy industry, many consider the training opportunities limited.

This is in many ways surprising, especially given that renewable energy organizations have highlighted how Oil & Gas industry skills are readily transferable to the renewables sector.

How To Meet Your Workforce Goals

There are a number of training strategies that wind and solar companies can implement in order to meet their workforce development goals, partly by tapping into the Oil & Gas labor force.

It is highly recommended that such businesses utilize resources focused on workforce development. This involves contacting training providers, community colleges, and workforce boards, as well as expanding work-based training programs enabling entry-level employees to learn on the job.

This is where Workrise can help.

Training, cross-training, and other worker-driven programs enable workers to adapt their skills and continue working.

Use a Hiring Agency

Given the unpredictability of demand, energy companies should engage a hiring agency that can identify qualified workers, train workers, and certify them.

Equally important, energy companies need an agency that can do these things quickly.

There will always be demand for skilled workers, but as recent events in the energy industry have shown, it is inevitable there will be fluctuations in how much skilled labor is required.

The energy companies that are most adaptable to such fluctuations will be the ones that flourish in the years to come.

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