Oil and Gas: Managing a Changing Workforce

As each new generation enters the workforce, skilled managers adjust their leadership styles to meet the needs of both their new workers and the companies they work for. This ability may be even more important for the Millennial generation and the oil and gas industry. Millennials have different values than the previous generations -- and many similarities, as well. The oil and gas industry is also changing. It has been in constant flux for the past few decades as it shifts with the political climate and advancing technology.

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) enables oil and gas professionals to manage this evolving workforce and their industry as a whole.

Changes in the Workforce

By 2025 Millennials will make up over 75 percent of the world's working population

According to the Pew Research Center, Millennials will soon overtake Baby Boomers as the largest generation in America. The projected shift places the number of Millennials at 73 million and that of Baby Boomers at 72 million in 2019. By 2025 Millennials will make up over 75 percent of the world's working population, says Forbes. This percentage will trend up as Baby Boomers retire and Gen Xers follow them into retirement a few years later.

Not only is the Millennial generation the largest in U.S. history, it is also the most diverse: 45 percent of this generation is made up of minority groups, compared to approximately one-third of Gen Xers and one-fifth of Baby Boomers, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API). The API report "Millennials in the Oil & Natural Gas and Petrochemical Industries" goes on to say that they are also better educated than the previous two generations.

Millennials, Managers in the Making

Due to the oil bust in the '80s, there is a gap in the age range of workers in the oil and gas industry. According to an article in the Greeley Tribune, "Had they [college grads in the '80s and '90s] been hired, those people would now be in or on the trajectory to leadership positions in the industry. Instead, the age range for oil and gas employees is a U-shaped curve. There are many oil and gas employees near retirement age, and many -- you guessed it -- millennials."

The lack of Gen Xers to replace retiring Baby Boomers spells opportunity for Millennials who want to climb the oil and gas ladder -- an MBA degree enables them to gain the requisite business savvy and leadership skills. The same gap challenges experienced oil and gas professionals to augment their technical abilities with the skills required to manage and train Millennial workers.

Millennials will soon overtake Baby Boomers as the largest generation in America. -Pew Research Center

Managing Millennials

It is not uncommon for Millennials to get a bad rap. They are often dubbed as lazy, entitled, and addicted to social media. Their buying preferences have purportedly taken down entire industries: casual dining, starter homes and even dinner napkins, to name a few. Faced with negative stereotypes about their generation, Millennials don't have it easy. However, skilled managers find ways to parlay these stereotypes into strengths.

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Turn Differences Into Positives

If Millennials seem attached to their phones, why not put that affinity to good use? Their smart devices represent their comfort with and aptitude for technology. Organizations can leverage the Millennial knack for technology to benefit all staff. Reverse mentoring, which pairs older executives with younger employees on topics like technology and social media, can breathe new life into a company. Millennials want to feel important, and allowing them to reverse-mentor is a great way to give them a boost.

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Reverse mentoring, which pairs older executives with younger employees on topics like technology and social media, can breathe new life into a company.

This generation likes guidance, but that doesn't mean they are lazy. They want to learn what managers have to teach them, and they want feedback. According to "11 Tips for Managing Millennials" published on The Balance Careers, "They want in on the whole picture and to know the scoop. Plan to spend a lot of time teaching and coaching and be aware of this commitment to millennials when you hire them. They deserve and want your very best investment of time in their success." This is a perfect fit for the oil and gas industry, as there is a lot to learn and not much time to learn it.

Another strength of Millennials is their ability to work in teams -- in fact, they tend to prefer it. The same Balance article goes on to say that this generation believes teams are more effective than individuals.

Some view the ability of Millennials to multitask as a lack of focus. Use this ability to your advantage and let them multitask. Combine their appetite for changing stimuli with your goal of getting multiple, short-term tasks accomplished at once. They love to learn, so stretch their skill sets and tap their ability to figure it out.

An MBA for a Changing Workforce in a Changing Industry

Oil Rig

Because of the knowledge gap, the changes in the industry, and Baby Boomer retirements, it's now more crucial than ever for oil and gas professionals to know how to manage the incoming group of workers. An MBA from Baylor can give mid-career professionals just what they need to get the latest generation up to speed. These same factors present opportunities for motivated Millennials who are manager material but require business savvy to advance.

In any of these scenarios, a Baylor MBA adds essential business and leadership skills to your technical acumen so you can take charge of your career. You'll gain a broad base that includes the fundamentals of finance, information systems, marketing, organizational behavior and strategic management. You'll also develop or sharpen skills required for critical thinking, collaborative teamwork and persuasive communication.

An online MBA means you can keep working -- a plus if you want to build on your tenure with your current company or you can't afford lost income while you earn the degree. If you take the fast track, you can even finish the Baylor program in 12-16 months.

So whether you're a Gen Xer, a young Baby Boomer, or an older Millennial, there's never been a better time to add to your skill set and enhance your energy career.

Learn more about Baylor's online MBA program.

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