As we’re all aware, the oil and gas industry is currently in the middle of a downturn. This isn’t the first and it won’t be the last.
The downturns of the 80s and 90s saw large numbers of geoscientists not only leaving the oil and gas industry, but never returning.
This has resulted in the well-documented bimodal age distribution with a disproportionally low number of mid-career professionals sandwiched between larger populations of young professionals and more senior members of the industry.
The Great Crew Change, as it is commonly called, has been aggressively addressed by many companies through recruitment, mentorship and training programs. However, current business conditions threaten to stall or even reverse this trend.
Companies are severely cutting back on exploration programs and capital budgets and, in an effort to increase cash flow, have reduced the size of their workforce, in some instances significantly.
The Plight of YPs
Young Professionals (YPs) make up a significant percentage of the geoscientists within the oil and gas industry and are feeling the pain of the current downturn.
It’s hard not to take being laid off personally, especially if this is your first job and you are early in your career.
There have been and will continue to be a number of technically adept, hard-working people who will be let go in the current downturn, through no fault of their own. Some will quickly find another job in the industry; more will be unemployed for a significantly longer period; others will leave the industry for other opportunities.
For our members who find themselves between jobs, the YPs would like to urge them to stay involved with AAPG. We are in the middle of and are starting several initiatives and programs, and we need dedicated members to lead and move these projects forward.
It’s important to remember that in difficult times for the industry, you don’t have to be employed in order to add value.
Participating in AAPG and local geological societies gives our members opportunities to stay connected with the industry and network with other members.
Your continued involvement and volunteerism may just be what lands you that next interview or secures your next job. We’re going to need talented geoscientists when the price of oil rebounds and companies increase activity.
To the Still Employed
For our members who are still employed, we’d like to issue a call to action.
Although many of us are not in a position to offer one of our laid-off colleagues a new job, we can offer support. Job loss can take a profound toll on mental health.
In early December 2015, the CBC reported that oil patch layoffs have resulted in a 30-percent increase in the suicide rate in Alberta, Canada. A friendly phone call, text or email, or extending an invitation to attend a local networking event, can mean a lot to someone who may be struggling with their current career situation.
Make yourself available as a resource for those who may be in need and, as always, if you or someone you know is suffering from anxiety or depression, seek out the aid of a counselor or mental health care provider.
Got a question for the YPs or want to get involved with the local YP Chapter in your area? Visit us online at aapg.org/youngpros or connect with us on Facebook (search AAPG Young Professionals Special Interest Group), Instagram or Twitter (@aapgypsig).