Bridging the talent gap

A new report by Arthur D. Little explores the reasons why, despite the buoyancy of record pricing, growth in the oil industry is being constrained by a worrying skills shortage across the sector. The report recognises acute resource shortages as a key factor. Specifically, shortages in oil supply, refining capacity, and the talent, experience and capacity of service companies are constraining both international and national oil companies (IOCs and NOCs) in their efforts to meet rapidly growing demand for energy and chemicals. This shortfall has occurred despite a 20 per cent increase in investment by IOCs and NOCs during 2004-2007, spurred on by high oil prices. Arthur D. Little's latest report, "Bridging the Talent Gap", examines and articulates how energy companies can close these gaps by addressing five key issues in resourcing:

  • Building a human resource strategy to fit the new challenges - "business as usual" is no longer an option
  • Reshaping metrics and processes to drive capability development - ensuring that people are not just "doing the job", but constantly learning and developing along the way
  • Developing future leaders through innovative professional development - adopting best practice, not only from other companies in the energy sector, but the best-in-class across like industries
  • Bridging the gap between classroom skills and application in the field - so that investment in training pays off more rapidly, and trainees gain motivation and confidence from earlier successes
  • Creating a culture of learning and development across the business - a "learning for life" culture that permeates every level and every function.
Ensuring the above five issues are addressed in a practical manner, Arthur D. Little recommends a three-pronged strategy:
  • Sizing human resource needs correctly
  • Developing national resources
  • Improving managerial skills at supervisor level
"Our research has shown that the three initiatives, undertaken in parallel, have the potential to resolve the impending labor crisis and achieve the changes required in both processes and behaviours to prevent the situation arising again," reflects Stephen Rogers, Global head of ADL's energy and utilities practice. "Recent years have shown that efforts to increase efficiency and effectiveness in oil and gas companies, through automation, process, improvement, outsourcing etc., are beneficial, but not nearly sufficient to close the labor gap." According to the report, the current labor shortage cannot be solved with a single line of attack. Given the urgency and severity of labor shortages, it is all the more vital for oil companies to define the resources they need, invest in new training tools and techniques to develop national resources and focus on the long-term benefits of creating a leadership development program for the supervisor group. The Bridging the Talent Gap report is now available for download at

Notes for Editors

About Arthur D. Little
Arthur D. Little (ADL), founded in 1886, is a leading global management consulting firm that links strategy, innovation and technology to master complex business challenges while delivering sustainable results to our clients.  Arthur D. Little has a collaborative client engagement style, exceptional people, and a firm-wide commitment to quality and integrity.  ADL is proud to serve many of the Fortune 100 companies globally in addition to many other leading firms and public sector organizations.  Arthur D. Little has over 30 offices worldwide, employing over 1,000 people.

Further Information

Stephen Rogers
Arthur D. Little
Tel: +44 79 77 99 44 34 Sue Glanville/ Maita Soukup
Say Communications
Tel: +44 (0)208 971 6423 / 6421