The shift is already well underway, with one in three positions in the oil and natural gas sector being filled by a millennial. This “crew change” continues to gain momentum. It’s projected that half of the oil and natural gas workforce will retire within a decade. That portends massive opportunity for the biggest generation in American history – millennials, which now number 80 million.

They’ve officially surpassed the baby boomer generation, and by 2025 will account for 41 percent of the oil and natural gas workforce. That’s a 20 percent increase from today’s numbers. This shift brings with it new breakthroughs and confidence in the future vitality of the industry.

BOOMERS ROLE IN PASSING THE BATON

As boomers eye the exit door, it becomes imperative to pass on their knowledge. As energy consultant Roger Rodiek laid out in a discussion on recruiting millennials, the knowledge transfer needs to include personal training, mentorship and on-the-job experience. The skill transfer will have to cover the entire scope of handling new projects from inception to completion, as well as operational education – how to manage them safely, reliably and efficiently.

MILLENIALS ASPIRE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

The opportunity for millennials extends beyond eventual leadership positions, and even beyond a paycheck. A renewed demand for technology-oriented leaders puts them at a real advantage. As digital natives, they can use their tech-savvy minds to develop industry innovations, which ultimately contribute to the greater good.

That means the oil and natural gas industry needs to actively tell it’s own story, highlighting the need for a younger workforce to take the helm on energy independence, and how these natural resources benefit the entire world.

FINDING COMMON GROUND IN FUTURE GOALS

As noted by Bob Dudley, chief executive officer of BP, the industry’s willingness or refusal to be forward thinking can influence whether many millennials opt to join their ranks. By and large, they’re seeking opportunities to challenge the status quo and develop new solutions. Their inherent curiosity and initiative bodes well for an industry hungry for a future filled with breakthroughs and innovation.

Stay up-to-date on the latest contributions of millennials to the oil and natural gas industry at EnergyHQ.com. And check out our video on the new face of American energy: energyhq.com/meet-the-new-face-of-energy