Engage Your Nationals - Please Your Customers

Professor William Scott-Jackson, Robert Mogielnicki and Maggie Rose of Oxford Strategic Consulting look ahead to maximising in-country value in Oman's downstream oil and gas sector

76% of Omanis said that they were primarily motivated by the idea of helping their country.
76% of Omanis said that they were primarily motivated by the idea of helping their country.

Professor William Scott-Jackson, Robert Mogielnicki and Maggie Rose of Oxford Strategic Consulting look ahead to maximising in-country value in Oman’s downstream oil and gas sector

The downstream sector is where petroleum meets the customer, and consequently this industry is an especially important area for talent development associated with GCC national employees.

As the downstream sector includes the sales and marketing of refined petroleum products, it is critical that employees are engaged in and committed to their work. Yet organisations across the GCC often face difficulties engaging their national employees and developing key leadership skills.

Fortunately, new research from Oxford Strategic Consulting (OSC) into the development of Omani and Emirati talent in engineering reveals how youth motivations can be leveraged for talent development purposes.

The major research initiative, conducted by OSC and sponsored by BP, captures key insights into the perceptions of Omani and Emirati nationals preparing to enter the workforce. As part of the research, OSC has produced high-impact recommendations for how employers can utilize the motivations of job seeking nationals in order to produce more engaged national leaders in the oil and gas industry.

The ‘Maximising Omani Talent’ research report, recently launched at Sultan Qaboos University, found that young Omanis are most motivated by ‘helping the country’ (76%).

While both students and employers admitted that money is an important motivator, employers significantly overstated its importance (83%), whereas only 54% of students believed money to be a key motivator. Similarly, most employers believed that young Omanis are after an ‘easy life’; however, ‘challenge’ and ‘development’ actually represented more influential motivators for Omani students (at 40% and 38% respectively).

Hussain Al Bulushi, Human Resources Manager-BP Oman said, “As a key player in the oil and gas sector in Oman, BP is keen on developing talent in tight gas. We are bringing unique technology to Oman, and it is just right to pass that “know how” to local talent. This research provides us with important insight into bridging the gap between us and prospective employees.”

UAE employers in the downstream oil and gas sector can also benefit from OSC’s research on ‘Maximising Emirati Talent’, the findings of which were launched in Abu Dhabi in conjunction with the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development. The report found that young Emiratis are most motivated by ‘helping the country’ (41%). Like in Oman, ‘challenge’ and ‘development’ also served as important motivators for young Emiratis.

Based on the research findings, OSC recommends that employers in the downstream oil and gas sector should spend less time and effort on advertising higher salaries and benefits packages, and instead focus on advertisements that are centred on the other important motivations like helping the country, challenge and career development.

By realigning employer messages with actual youth motivations, companies will not only attract more national talent but also be better suited to engage existing national talent within their organisations.

Since many large oil companies are integrated in that they combine upstream activities with downstream operations, these companies have the particular advantage of incorporating the recommendations mentioned in our reports across the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors – ensuring that company messages remain consistent
and effective.

While OSC has performed similar research initiatives in Oman, the UAE, and Qatar, it would be useful to conduct this type of research specifically for the downstream sector. Such a research initiative would be truly valuable for oil & gas companies, their customers and, perhaps most importantly, national employees.

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