You are here

Young professionals tackle downturn challenges

How should young professionals cope during a reduced oil price? It’s a tough question, and one which has drawn young professionals in the oil city of Aberdeen together as they seek not just jobs, but also clarity on what the future holds. Elaine Maslin reports.
Young professionals tackle downturn challenges

For many, if not all, of these young professionals, the dramatic fall in the oil price from a five-year ~$US110/bbl trend to sub-$50/bbl had not been felt before. After five years of growth, they have witnessed a reduction in the workforce, including friends and colleagues, offices close, graduate programs dropped, sponsorships withdrawn, and company acquisitions, mergers and divestments.

But, if they’re one thing, these young people are go-getters and one, Leilla Farkhondeh, helped formulate, organize and oversee an event which drew together some 100 young professionals and a panel of industry experts to discuss the question; how should young professionals copy during a reduced oil price?

The event was held as a panel session during DEVEX 2015 in Aberdeen late May. It was chaired by Deirdre O’Donnell (Founder/Managing Director of Working Smart) with panelists Peter Brand (UK Subsurface Manager at TAQA Bratani), Rita Michel-Greiss (Business Development Manager, AGR TRACS), Chris Flavell (Managing Director, Zinc Consultants) and former MP Sir Malcolm Bruce (Former Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats). Many of the panel had experienced previous downturns and even lost their jobs in the past, giving them firsthand experience to pass on.

O’Donnell said she hoped that the industry’s young professionals would “ride the storm,” because the industry needed them as much as they needed the industry.

Advice from the panel included showing enthusiasm, but not at the expense of colleagues, taking additional opportunities, even if they might be below an individual’s experience level, being willing to travel, including to places others might not, and showing enterprise, i.e. by attending courses to gain additional skills and building your network, through events or even online seminars.

The panel noted that Young professionals entering the business should be aware that the industry is cyclic. Brand said: “part of why I love this industry is that we do not know what is around the corner, it is an exciting and dynamic industry that seeks adaptable people.”

Young professionals should note that a career is different from a job, in an industry where flexibility is seen as an asset, said the panel.

Other advice from the panel included suggesting young professionals save for a rainy day, when the going is good, and to seek mentoring, from one or more people.

The message was not all doom and gloom, however. One panelist said young professionals should “have hope,” as some companies may see the current down turn in oil price as a good time to invest and may be hiring, and, as the so-called “baby boomers” retire, openings will come for those wanting to progress.

What’s more, the event helped bring young professionals together. Farkhondeh says: “A few individuals approached me at the end of the event to say this was the platform they were hoping for, in order to express their concerns and to receive meaningful advice. Others said a “community” feel had been generated at this event and that the sense of being “in this together,” as young professionals, combined with the understanding and guidance from the experienced panel, was truly invaluable. 

Read more on this topic

How should Young Professionals cope during a reduced oil price?

Latest profiles