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No technical challenge can rival the problems that the global upstream industry faces with manpower issues. Industry recruitment and retention affects every operational phase, including costs. There is a shortage of not only professional people, as in engineers, geologists, geophysicists, other technologists, accountants and purchasing agents, but also of field personnel and tradesmen.
The industry faces a “two-hump” demographic, whereby there is a large cluster of personnel in the 45-plus age bracket, a distinct shortage in the 30-to-45 group and a potential swelling of new workers in the under-30 category. In the upper end of the 45-plus group, a large wave of people is preparing to begin retiring within the next five to 15 years. This wave represents a huge amount of skill, knowledge and experience that will be very difficult to replace.
At the same time, companies are suffering the effects from the giant exodus of personnel in the late 1980s and early 1990s, in the wake of the 1986 oil price collapse, as firms sliced payrolls.
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