Millennials Bring Different Values to Oil, Gas Industry

by Valerie Jones, Careers Editor

Millennial is more than just a buzzword. The word millennial collectively refers to a generation of adults who grew up with luxuries such as dial-up internet, VHS and cassette tapes.

Jealous? No? Not really? Okay, I’ll continue.

Millennials are an interesting group, often characterized with positive attributes of being ambitious, tech-savvy and collaborative – and some not-so-positive attributes: spoiled, entitled job-hoppers. For whatever reason, millennials inspire some and annoy others. And the world is obsessed with them now.

But, there’s reasons why millennials seem to be the topic of conversation. They’re already the largest, most racially diverse generation and on track to be the most educated generation to date. And they have taken the global workforce by storm.

The oil and gas industry has already been challenged by the Great Crew Change and numerous downturns, but another industry challenge lies in how companies have had to adjust to account for a larger millennial workforce. This means determining the best recruitment strategies, understanding millennials’ strengths and weaknesses and preparing millennials for leadership roles.

Downturn or not, employers are still recruiting millennials.

Millennials are very passionate about their values and companies that aren’t transparent and clear in their values may have difficulty bringing on board and maintaining millennial workers, Mike Weiss, senior vice president of products and technology at Oildex, told Rigzone.

“I have a lot of millennials working for me, and I love and welcome [the fact that millennials like to be challenged],” Weiss said. “What’s neat about it is you can throw curve balls at them that may not be in their wheelhouse, which is an incentive for them to learn things quicker.”

Weiss, 52, said the concept of business has changed.

“You have to be almost a student of new culture to continue to look for new people,” he said. “I joined Halliburton in 1993, and by 1995, we were internally having discussions about the grain of the workforce – [The Great Crew Change] was recognized back then.”

Weiss noted that keeping millennials engaged – “it’s more than just drilling” – is key to keeping them in the industry. Millennials have a desire to “change the world” and want to be part of a company that recognizes that and allows them to grow.

Clear differences exist in the work habits and preferences between millennials and Gen Xers or baby boomers.

“Millennials are fine working in cubicles and in groups or teams. Baby boomers prefer offices with a door they can shut and they want to come in at the same time every day and leave at the same time every day,” Weiss said. “Millennials can adapt and even thrive” in situations that may seem undesirable to baby boomers.

As a manager, you’ve got all these different tools in your workshop, Weiss said referring to the different generations of workers. You just have to recognize what each generation values and try to get them what they need to grow.

Many millennials have expressed difficulty in trying to break into the industry, citing the “good old boy” mentality.

“When I joined the industry back in the 90s, it was somewhat that way, but because of the lack of skilled workers coming in, companies had to change,” he said. “It’s not necessarily good old boys anymore. People are retiring. They need people in the door and they cannot just rely on their buddies. That issue is self-correcting.”

So you can think what you want about millennials, how they communicate, their work ethic, whatever. But they’re entering the industry, and they’re coming in droves. And you need to get ready.

Check Rigzone for results from our exclusive millennial survey.

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