Words such as branding and marketing are, one suspects, anathema to the average engineer.
For a profession characterised by doing rather than talking, the concept of blowing one’s own (or one’s sector’s) trumpet is at worst alien and at best unwelcome.
That attitude however may need to change, and for the benefit of those in the profession and the various process sectors, there is some factual evidence that suggests it needs to.
There is, we know, a growing need for engineers and technicians. That demand will be stoked further by a diminishing pool from which to hire; younger workers are fewer in number and many older ones will shortly retire.
What recruits ‘know’ about oil and gas is limited, often negative and frequently wrong: old fashioned, hierarchical, dirty, isolated and, of course, environmentally unsound.
The problem starts in the education process: STEM subjects attract fewer students than needed; those that are recruited will not necessarily opt for engineering at the higher education stage; those who are won’t necessarily choose to be employed as engineers.
Add to that a rather poor, if improving, record for inclusivity and diversity and the recruitment pool may evaporate faster than the Aral Sea in a bad decade.
And when it comes to professional engineering, there is significant variation in the performance of individual sectors.
Oil and gas has something of an uphill task – what potential recruits ‘know’ about it is limited, often negative and frequently wrong: old fashioned, hierarchical, dirty, isolated and, of course, environmentally unsound.
As our cover feature suggests, it is an arena where much cutting edge work is being done that can impact other sectors – and provide useful transferable skills for individuals.
The old share buying principle – buy when stocks are low – applies to oil and gas, whose own stock is artificially deflated. But the sector will need to play its part and be much more prepared to sing its successes and get a better grasp of what appeals to the millennial mindset.
The content is all there already. What it requires is better packaging and presentation, so that those who can pick and choose where they build a career will make the choice that benefits both parties.