Manpower Shortages

Several years ago, industry, professional organizations and government questioned whether there were adequate numbers of petroleum professionals for the domestic oil and natural gas industry.

At present, the average age of employees working for major operators and service companies is in the range of 46 to 49 years old. With the average retirement age for the industry being 55 years, it is obvious that the industry faces a crisis in the next 7 to 10 years as more than half of the employee base leaves the work force. At the same time, a reduction in global spending by the industry, coupled with many mergers, has resulted in significant reductions in hiring of geoscientists, engineers, field personnel and other technical and skilled workers.

Through the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven assembled a Petroleum Professionals Blue Ribbon Task Force to address the issue, charging them with developing proposals both proactive and practical. The task force made recommendations that have impacted the way the nation is looking to fill vacancies in the industry, and the Commission continues to assist member states with finding creative methods to alleviate the problem.