Growing HR role in oil and gas strategy highlighted at Dubai event

HR-Forum-oil-gas-Petroleum-InstituteDr. Nadia Alhasani, director of the women’s campus at the Petroleum Institute (PI), during a Q&A session with three female graduates of the college. The growing role human resources (HR) departments have been undertaking within the business strategies of oil and gas companies throughout the region has been one of the main talking points among delegates at the inaugural edition of the HR Forum: Oil & Gas, which has been taking place in Dubai this week

Speakers at the event have also been discussing the contribution HR professionals play in staff retention and succession planning, how talented staff are being assisted in reaching their full potential and the looming concern of the ‘talent crunch’ in the oil and gas industry, which has been exacerbated by many experienced workers preparing to retire from the industry in the next five to 10 years.

Delivering the first day’s keynote speech, Kevin Quigley, head of the leadership development division at Saudi Aramco, spoke about generational differences between professionals working in the oil and gas sector, highlighting the need for colleagues of various ages to understand the demands and requirements of those from different generational groups.

Quigley advised managers and HR professionals within the industry to provide the “right environment” for fellow staff members in which to motivate themselves, noting that the speed of technological change has enhanced the shift in the way the world is viewed by young people from Generation Y, compared to members of the baby boomers generation and Generation X.

Staff retention, training and succession planning were also discussed in detail by conference speakers on the first day, with Richard Loving, senior director - human resources at McDermott International, stating, “If you do not provide opportunities to high-potential people, they will leave.”

Other speakers on Day One included Kenneth McKellar, partner - Middle East energy and resources leader for Deloitte & Touche, and Mohammad Ali Khan, capability management team leader at ZADCO.

One of the highlights of the first day saw Dr. Nadia Alhasani, director of the women’s campus at the Petroleum Institute (PI) introduce three young female graduates currently working in Abu Dhabi’s oil and gas industry.

Basma Ali Ahmed, petroleum engineer at Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO), Heyam Al Blooshi, planning engineer at Abu Dhabi Gas Industries (GASCO) and Amena Saeed Al Shehhi, petroleum engineer at Zakum Oil Development Company (ZADCO) all shared their experiences of working in an industry traditionally dominated by male employees. Each young engineer highlighted what they require from HR professionals to help them develop in the workplace and explained how important it was to gain experience in the field to develop the hands-on skills they will need as they look to further their burgeoning careers.

Led by chair Dr Emma Langman, manager of human resources and performance at Kuwait Energy, the second day of the Forum featured Reliance Industries Limited head talent of management (E&P), Dr Sunil Kumar Singh, and Marie-Claire Junge, senior manager for talent management at Mubadala Petroleum as speakers.

The day started with a lively debate among delegates about competency framework development during a session presented by Ayman Meneassy, vice-chairman of United Eastern Petroleum Services.

Speaking during the event finale was Rob Veesma, a former director of training and development at Shell who recently began a new role heading Gazprom International Training, Gazprom International’s specialised training centre in the Netherlands.

Discussing the challenges facing HR professionals in facilitating the growing utilisation of virtual working, Veesma said, “Working hours are no longer 9am to 5pm and the place of work is changing.

“In HR we still have to find the answer [to the growth of virtual working], because we do not have answers to questions such as what the role of virtual leaders are.”

For a more detailed round up of the event, please see the next edition of Oil Review Middle East.

The HR Forum: Oil & Gas, organised by Oil Review Middle East Events, has been taking place at the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa in Dubai, UAE.

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