How leaders should transform the oil & gas industry

With fundamental changes taking place to the nature of work, traditional industries such as Energy/Oil & Gas are significantly challenged to recruit, retain, and satisfy an evolving workforce. The ‘Great Escape’ is exacerbating already difficult circumstances in Labor Management.  Are leaders ready to tackle this challenge? For Episode # 31 of The World Class Leaders Show, I was honored to host a fellow Italian, Emanuele Cacciatore, an experienced executive management consultant and strategic adviser with a strong track record in leading strategy and transformation projects. In his current role as senior director for industry strategy and transformation at Oracle, Emanuele supports digital transformation projects across major energy and utility client accounts. Before joining Oracle, Emanuele worked for global management consulting organizations, with a strong focus on oil and gas utilities, engineering, and construction. He is a faculty member at the European Institute for Innovation & Sustainability and the author of several published articles on the Future of Work. While our discussions generally referenced the energy oil and gas industry, we discussed several trends and issues with broad applicability across multiple industries. Please note: this episode was recorded before the war in Ukraine and when the industry was dealing with a spike of Omicron cases (late 2021).

The Approaching Labor Crunch

The world of work continues to evolve rapidly, and leading executives are being challenged to develop plans and strategies for dealing with the changes in talent recruitment and retention. There are several key factors:
  • The Digital Transition and changing skill requirements
  • Increased competition for skilled labor, especially in traditional industries
  • Demographic Shifts – Ageing workforces

The Digital Transformation Challenges

Altogether, the three most significant challenges facing the industry are: The Data Challenge The Scalability Challenge The Ecosystem Challenge. It’s necessary that enabling technologies: i.e. all the network technology, cloud computing, edge computing, machine learning, IoT, and ‘big data’, can fit into the enterprise IT ecosystem. This leads to the need for integrating third-party data applications, platforms, or technologies with open architecture into the energy company technology ecosystem. Organizations can accomplish this by re-thinking the way they manage the demand-supply chain and its planning, moving towards integrated business planning and execution, and increasing visibility of costs across the entire supply area. To this end, the industry is ripe for a cadre of innovative start-up entrepreneurs to take action on identifying and developing solutions. The digital transition will not happen overnight. There is an open window right now for heavy industries facing similar challenges to have the courage to reinvent their organizations and business models. 

What Skills are Required

The world is awash in a sea of data, with more data points being identified, captured, and analyzed every day. Especially for industries with heavy equipment and operational history, such as oil & gas, construction, and manufacturing, this evolution drives a new skill set requirement. If harnessed appropriately, the new opportunities represented by the availability of sensors and the Internet of Things can be leveraged for competitive advantages and increased operational efficiency. Data Capture, Data Security & Availability, and Data Integration & Analysis are now essential skills for every business category, leading to tremendous competition for skilled resources; within and across industries.

Competition for Talent

With the ‘Great Resignation’ prompted by the pandemic presently underway, labor and talent shortages in several industries are reaching critical levels. A tradition-bound organization that has not reflected the new working realities with more flexible opportunities for employees, will face even more challenges. Exacerbating an already difficult set of circumstances in oil & gas energy firms, a recent survey indicated that 43% of workers want to leave the energy industry within the next five years — many noting that they wish to transfer to the renewables companies now climbing the roster. With these changes, the traditional energy industry must identify ways to improve the attractiveness of the industry to new entrants to the workforce, through education, promotion, and career path opportunities. 

Demographic Factors

Like many heavy industries, the energy sector is faced with an ageing workforce, without sufficient new entrants to fill the openings that develop due to retirement or other age-related issues.  One popular solution under exploration is the re-hiring of retirees. When added to the increased working flexibilities mentioned above, these creative solutions will necessitate major shifts in working models, hours, and conditions. With the increased competition for digitally skilled talent, the industry also needs to make itself more appealing to resources that may be interested in switching industries.   As usual, we closed the episode by asking Emanuele to share his answers to my standard questions. Q: What is the number one lesson you’ve learned throughout your career? A: “You need to care about your team.” If you care about them, they will care about you and will not let you fail. At a minimum, you will have built long-term relationships that you can leverage in your contact network over time. Q: What is one thing you might have done differently in your professional life? A: I might have spent fewer years as a management consultant, and developed a better work-life balance. There is life after work, you know? Q: When you had your best work performance, what were the conditions in place to enable that? A: Three things:  1) Recognition – I was appreciated and valued for my effort. 2) Fun – I really enjoyed what I was doing and was having fun. 3) Learning – my performance improved whenever I felt I was increasing future employability. Q: Can you share one book that had an impact or influence on your life? A: The author is Lewis Pinault, and his book is titled “Consulting Demons: Inside the Unscrupulous World of Global Corporate Consulting”. This book really had a great influence on my decision to pursue a career in management consulting. To learn more and to contact Emanuele Cacciatore, you can reach out via his LinkedIn profile: For more information and to access valuable leadership tools, visit my website at You’ll find a free assessment of your leadership level, thought-provoking articles, and, of course, you can listen to more episodes of The World Class Leaders Show podcast. Listen to the podcast related to this article:

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