2024IADC, Regulation, and LegislationJanuary/February

Industry must evolve its recruiting strategies amid ‘war for talent’

By Linda Hsieh, Editor & Publisher

As the drilling industry continues to recover from the previous downturn, employee recruitment and retention has again surfaced as a top priority. However, this time, multiple economic and social factors are making the challenge more difficult than it’s ever been. This means that, if your organization has not taken a good look at your employee value proposition (EVP) lately – which answers the question of why someone should work for your organization – you are already behind the competition.

Speaking at the 2023 IADC Annual General Meeting in November, Diamond Offshore’s Senior VP of Human Resources Amy Roddy urged companies to think beyond the traditional approach of promoting pay and compensation. It is still important, of course, but it’s only one piece of a bigger puzzle.

“As an industry, we are not as differentiated as we have been in the past,” she said during a panel session focusing on recruiting and retention. “Pay is not that much higher. A roustabout can go work onshore today for companies like Amazon or UPS; they have other options. There are other heavy industries that are also paying well, so that is not the differentiator for us.”

She encouraged employers to take a much more holistic approach as they consider their EVP and put more focus on things like career growth and nurturing a sense of affiliation with the organization. “Last but not least, employees value meaning and purpose,” Ms Roddy said. “This includes work-life balance and finding individual purpose in our work.”

Ms Roddy also presented recent findings from  IADC’s Industry Value Initiative (IVI), which surveyed prospective employees to better understand how they perceive the drilling industry (see Page 41). When used in conjunction with a well-rounded EVP, the IVI results can go a long way toward helping organizations in the drilling industry craft a more compelling recruiting message.

Flexibility is key 

When thinking about the EVP, it’s also important for an organization to know what its boundaries are, Bianca Richards Agar, HR Director for SLB, suggested during the panel. “Where are you willing to be flexible and where are you not?” she asked. 

As companies consider boundaries, however, they should keep in mind that “we are in a war for talent,” Ms Agar said. “We aren’t in a position now where people will line up around the corner to work for you when you have your recruiting days open.” This means that the more flexible an organization is willing to be, the easier it will be to attract and retain top talent.

Another strategy organizations can take is to broaden their recruitment scope. For example, SLB is currently trialing the concept of a “returnship,” which targets people who had left the oil and gas industry and are currently unemployed. 

“Think about employees who have left to look after family or other responsibilities. Think about people who took career breaks for burnout,” she said. The returnship puts them through a 12-week program, at the end of which they can choose whether to return in a full-time capacity. Because these people already know the basics, “they will be hitting the ground running from Day 1” if they come back.

Providing the next-gen perspective on the panel was David LaRosa, a recent graduate who just joined the industry last year. He pointed to Tik Tok as the social media platform where oilfield recruiters need to focus their efforts, noting its ubiquitous influence among young people today. Especially for those who are not from a state like Texas or Oklahoma, they will be much less familiar with oilfield career opportunities, and Tik Tok videos can serve as a bridge. “With this new era of employees like myself, we’re online and we’re scrolling,” Mr LaRosa said. “Every single guy on my rig that’s from a non-target state, they ended up there because they saw a video on Tik Tok.”  DC 

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