In a recent survey conducted by the International Quality and Productivity Centre, 44% of the 2,895 Energy sector respondents have chosen retention and employee engagement as the topmost HR challenge in the Oil & Gas sector compared to 19% for recruitment. Continuous intake programs and intensive training have helped the industry address the recruitment challenge well. Now it is the next step of engaging and retaining the staff that has come under the spotlight. Building competencies and leadership development were the other top-quoted challenges.

A surprising result was when people were asked to define the most prominent role that HR had to play in Oil and Gas. Planning for rewards and compensation came in last with only 9% voting for it. Talent Management and learning and development with 17% each were on top of the table.

The most interesting areas of interest were Nationalization and leadership development initiatives. As the custodians of the region’s natural and mineral wealth, it is important that the national population is involved in key leadership positions which in turn are safeguarded through a structured succession plan.  

Mark Bechtold, HR & Organization Development Consultant at Saudi Aramco commented “Factors impacting organizations include rising costs, competitive business environments, and changing workforce demographics.  To address these issues, management in Middle East Oil & Gas companies must build on the strengths of the Middle Eastern, Arab culture in a way that involves, engages and inspires employees to work harder and smarter.”

Mark Bechtold will be speaking about the elements of successful performance improvement strategies at the 4th Annual HRM & Training in Oil, Gas & Petrochemicals 2010, taking place from 17 – 20 October 2010 in Bahrain. The expert speaker panel include senior representatives from the region’s leading operating companies, including Saudi Aramco, Petroleum Development Oman, Kuwait Petroleum International, Emarat and ENOC.