RCA Flag
RCA Flag
Connecting Africa’s Skilled Professionals
RCA Flag

ReConnect Africa is a unique website and online magazine for the African professional in the Diaspora. Packed with essential information about careers, business and jobs, ReConnect Africa keeps you connected to the best of Africa.

Library of Articles


ImageHow Nigeria is powering Global growth in the Oil and Gas Sector

Speaking at the inaugural Future Talent Summit, Chris Osarumwense of Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) outlined his company's approach to building a local talent pool in Nigeria.

Even in the midst of the today's economic problems, the need to plan ahead for better times has never been truer for the oil and gas sector. Years of lay-offs, an aging workforce and a decline in the number of skilled workers entering the industry make the need for talent potentially one of its greatest challenges.

Shifting Resources

The Future Talent Summit, organized by CWC, an independent provider of energy analysis and information, brought together industry experts and decision makers to discuss the global skills crisis facing the sector and to explore strategic and long term solutions to this very real problem.

Delegates represented a diversity of countries including the USA, Libya, Trinidad and Tobago, Angola, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, South Africa, Ghana and Egypt.

Established in 1977, the NNPC has over 11,000 employees and operates both upstream and downstream. With six major joint ventures, the company's oil production is over 2 million barrels per day and accounts for 80% of the foreign earnings for Nigeria.

An aging workforce and a decline in the number of skilled workers entering the industry make the need for talent potentially one of its greatest challenges.

In his presentation at the Summit, Osarumwense, the General Manager of the company's Group Learning Department, highlighted the challenges faced by company in its mandate to deliver the nation's aspirations.

"For NNPC," he said, "the key is to truly become an oil and gas company, while addressing environmental challenges."

Image"There is a need for executive capacity in-country to meet the company's aspirations," he said.

Currently there is a shortfall and a capacity gap of around 2,600 engineers. Over the last three years, however, the company has partnered with engineering institutions and service providers to train engineers in order to reduce the gap.

The challenges for an emerging economy such as Nigeria's are many, Osarumwense pointed out. They include investment and funding, human talent and capacity building, technological challenges and resolving the Niger Delta crisis.

In recent times the company has reduced its staffing – the company underwent a huge transformation from a staff base of 18,000 to 9,000. Yet, with an age profile closer to 50 than 40, upskilling and succession are critical issues.

"Building a local talent pool is a strategic imperative for the Nigerian oil and gas industry....and it needs collaborative and creative solutions."

The fact that the average employee age is 46 is a consideration that spurred the recent recruitment of 2000 graduate engineers, taking the company's staff numbers up to 11,000. Other measures have also been taken to replenish the company's technical skills base, including accelerated professional and technical development and a concerted effort to "grow skills where traditionally we did not have skills."

'What's the Deal in Joining Us?'

NNPC's aggressive recruitment of new graduates and mature professionals has called on the company to crystallise what Osarumwense called its "employee value proposition".

"What's the deal in joining us? Development, growth potential and higher remuneration than at traditional civil service levels," he said.

The company has adopted a number of approaches to raise awareness of what it can offer young professionals through events such as careers fairs. It has also focused on universities and technical institutions where executives such as Osarumwense can explain the opportunities and job roles available. Customised remuneration packages also helps attract experts in the Diaspora, allowing NNPC to not only recruit home grown talent, but also contribute to reversing the African brain drain.

Training and Development

The company spends many millions each year on training and development initiatives to develop their talent and has introduced learning processes and systems including a fast-track accelerated development process, coaching and mentoring, a leadership development programme and dedicated career planning.

"Building a local talent pool is a strategic imperative for the Nigerian oil and gas industry," Osarumwense said, "and it needs collaborative and creative solutions."

The key issue for this sector, he added, is not the material resource but human resources. "Where are the engineers and geoscientists of the future going to come from?"

Changing Perceptions

"Research in India has revealed that future talent sees the oil and gas industry as an old and dirty industry but also one that offersImageexciting travel opportunities and the chance to be nationalistic – to serve my country," explained Osarumwense.

The perception of the industry is one that he urged delegates to address.

"We need to sell the industry much better than we have done," he said. "We need to help career decisions by showing fully mapped out careers even at a young age and to seek credible advisers to help people through the information maze."

Despite the challenges of the economic slowdown, the long-term needs of the industry have to be kept in focus, he said.

"We need to build a global talent pipeline for this industry. We need to invest in local institutions for people development and facilitate knowledge transfer for sustainable localization for countries where educational institutions may not have been as good as was needed."

Welcome to the new, upgraded ReConnect Africa website.
Please help us provide you with information relevant to your needs by completing the fields below (just this once!)