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Employee engagement in Aussie oil and gas

When they drop into our inbox, it’s easy to dismiss surveys as time wasting. But one conducted recently by Rigzone, an oil and gas online portal, and The Right Group, an Australian employee research consulting agency, sheds light on their importance for assessing employee wants and needs in growing industries.

This is the first of its kind focusing on Australia’s oil and gas industry. More than 500 employees were asked questions ranging from work relationships, management style, job satisfaction and career trajectory.

A large majority of workers – 92 per cent – feel proud to work in these industries but fewer feel loyalty to a specific employer: only 72 per cent say they like working where they do now.

This may be because of a crucial relationship with their immediate boss. Roughly 30 per cent of employees are unhappy with the recognition they receive from management, with a similar percentage saying they don’t have confidence in managers or that employees are treated unfairly.

Oil and gas companies have a different composition to that typically found in more traditional offices. Because of the nature of the business, only 33 per cent of respondents work in an office space. The other 67 per cent work in offshore or on-shore sites, which provides a unique challenge for staving off or managing issues when employers and employees are dispersed across geographic regions, a trend that continues to become more popular.

Employee retention is therefore a particularly difficult problem to pin down. Surveys such as this could have lessons about worker engagement for other industries. Sometimes a love for the job is not enough. The top three responses for why an employee would look for work elsewhere revolved around learning opportunities, career progression and benefit packages.

Fifty-six per cent feel they don’t have a clear career path and a similar number said there isn’t equality of opportunity. A new generation of employees expect to be offered rigorous training programs and exposure to different aspects of work.

The Australian Workforce Productivity Agency predicts Australia’s oil and gas industry will grow by 57 per cent by 2018. Rigzone expects the industry will need to attract more young workers from different parts of Australia in the future. The implication is that employers need to be anticipating and planning to widen the composition of their workforce to make it more inclusive and diverse.

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Matt Poland
Matt Poland

Diversity is an interesting subject, reality is if people have the skills and experience & can fit in with the work group, it should make no difference where they are from or who they pray to. As far as career opportunity, the sometimes extreme levels of high remuneration I feel give many workers, supervisors & even middle managers unreal expectations as what they can move to within the company & in turn earn. Not every role attracts those high rates of pay. The latest downturn has given many of these aspirants a severe reality check.

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