ADNOC STEM youth survey: To attract youth, oil and gas companies must adopt new technology

ADNOC released its inaugural Workforce of the Future Survey, which found that although the oil and gas industry faces competition in attracting young STEM talent, the more it is associated with new technology, the more likely youth will want to join the industry.

The survey results were revealed at CERAweek
The survey results were revealed at CERAweek
Infographic by ADNOC
Infographic by ADNOC
The survey found that young STEM talent is most interested in industries they believe are the most impacted by new technologies
The survey found that young STEM talent is most interested in industries they believe are the most impacted by new technologies

ADNOC has released the findings of its inaugural Workforce of the Future Survey, which found that globally, youth are more interested in joining companies they perceive as technology-driven. ADNOC interviewed more than 3,000 STEM students and young professionals aged 15 to 35 in 10 countries across the globe.

“The global findings from the ADNOC ‘Workforce of the Future’ survey show that the more STEM Millennials and Gen Zs associate oil and gas with new technologies, the more interested they will be in a career in the industry," said UAE Minister of State and ADNOC Group CEO Dr. Sultan Al Jaber. "The oil and gas industry should position itself at the cutting edge of technology and showcase how breakthrough innovation is vital to every aspect of our business across the upstream and downstream value chain.

“The world’s demand for energy and higher-value products continues to increase at an unprecedented rate," he continued. "In order to meet that demand, our industry must stay ahead of the curve and ensure we continue to attract, retain and develop our young people. We need to come together as an industry and -- with our technology industry partners – better highlight the exciting opportunities that our dynamic industry offers young talent with strong technology skills as we enter the 4th Industrial Age."

However, only 44% of those surveyed displayed interest in joining the oil and gas sector, compared to 77% for the technology sector. Geographically, the survey found that STEM youth in emerging economies displayed more interest in joining the oil and gas sector, with 79% of KSA youth interested in joining the industry, followed by China, Russia and the UAE.

Emirati STEM youth tended to view the oil and gas sector as more technology-driven, future-facing and innovative than their global peers.

Commenting on the UAE findings, H.E. Dr. Al Jaber said: “Oil and gas has always been—and will continue to be—an industry of the future that is at the forefront of technology and innovation. It is an exciting time for our industry, particularly as we advance our Oil & Gas 4.0 mission at ADNOC, and embrace new technologies and partnerships for digital and technological transformation across our operations.

“While we are pleased that STEM Millennials and Gen Zs acknowledge ADNOC as a company that uses new and innovative technologies, the work does not stop here. We strongly believe that engagement starts young, and in line with UAE’s vision 2017, we are committed to continued investment in STEM educational programs designed to empower and foster next-generations skills in our industry and across the UAE,” added H.E. Dr. Al Jaber.

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For millennials and Gen Z, the top drivers behind career choice were a good salary, work-life balance, job security, and on-the-job happiness and fulfilment. Interestingly, when asked which positive traits they associate with the oil and gas sector, STEM talent noted high pay, the industry's crucial role in their country's economy, its nature as a necessary industry, and, crucially, that it is technology-driven.

In fact, 42% of respondents noted that technology would have a major impact on the oil and gas sector, and 30% said it would only have "some impact" on the industry. Ultimately, the study found a correlation between interest in joining and industry, and that industry's perceived link to technology--the more an industry is expected to be impacted by new technologies, the more interested STEM youth were in joining that sector.

However, STEM talent were divided on whether oil and gas is an industry of the past or the future. 44% called it an industry of the past, 45% called it an industry of the future, and 11% were uncertain. Answers by respondents noted the perceived shift to renewables as the reason for considering oil and gas as an industry of the past.

This perception was recently brought up by Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser in a speech at London Petroleum Week, where he said the oil and gas industry faces a "crisis of perception," with some considering it an industry with no future. He outlined five key focus areas to mitigate this crisis, including communicating the industry's innovative technologies.

Age also played a role in respondents' interest in joining the oil and gas sector: Secondary students were the least interested, with 37% expressing interest, while 42% of university students surveyed were interested in pursuing a career in the sector, and 51% of young professionals (defined as those having worked for less than five years).

The survey was conducted by PSB Research and the interviews were conducted from October 9th to 18th, 2018. Data weights were applied to ensure that each country is represented equally within the overall study sample; within each country, the three STEM sub-audiences are weighted equally.

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