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  • Matthew Mugan

Offering More Than Financial Benefits

In recent years global energy sector recruitment has slowed as dwindling oil prices bite into company budgets. At the same time the rapid march of technology has seen the demand for degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics skyrocket, creating a bunfight for the best talent.

As labour shortages shift more power into the hands of employees, companies have had to adapt to ensure they attract and retain the best talent, says Jamie Shepherd, CEO of Altaaqa Global Energy Services, which provides power and consultancy services to oil, gas and other industry projects around the world.

“The world is changing very rapidly at multiple levels from a human capital and technology point of view and that’s driving businesses and managers and leaders to look very differently at human capital.

“What’s changed a lot is that people require a journey. To get high-performing people to join you, to stay with you and deliver for you, it requires you to think very differently about how you progress their careers, how you engage them.”

As the technology revolution drives changes in the energy sector Altaaqa has expanded its traditional workforce of engineers and managers to court employees equipped with tech-focused skill sets in the solar and battery-storage business, Shepherd says. But this means competing with big tech companies to court the best talent, by offering more perks such as work-life balance and inclusivity, as well as a fat pay cheque.

“It’s not just all about money. Some people are driven by money, others prefer to have more time off,” he explains. “I see it more and more with the younger generation, when it comes to human capital, if you want them to stay, you’ve got to offer more than financial benefits. You’ve got to offer long-term career prospects, and in an environment where they have input and are listen d to. If you do that you get the best out of people.”

Altaaqa has also introduced a programme called #WeMakeADifference which allows the company to be more flexible in responding to the needs of its employees. “That’s really engaged people in the organisation to come forward and say ‘actually we don’t really want to work on a Friday afternoon because we end up having to do work on Sundays because we’re in Dubai’ where the work week differs, and this has helped us to be more flexible around working hours.”

With offices spanning the globe from Russia, to Asia and Africa and South America, Shepherd says that building a diverse workforce with the right mix, that caters to different working habits is key to a productive company culture: “Within my own team I’ve got a diverse culture. A Pakistani CFO, a Scottish engineering and operations director, an Egyptian CCO, and they all like to work in different ways. While ultimately it’s about getting the highest performance out of them, at the same time we want to give them a journey that provides financial incentives, and makes them enjoy coming to work.

As well as offering an attractive working environment and performance-driven remuneration package, the company has also added professional development training courses to its list of benefits.

Altaaqa’s parent Company, the Zahid Group, has a world-class global training facility offering everything from technical training, to leadership and management training, he says.

“We’re taking a very active role in people’s career development. It’s important for people to see that it’s possible to go from being an engineer on site, or in accounts, to rise to the top of the company.”

Looking to the future, Altaaqa’s next challenge will be courting the coming generation of millennials and Gen Zers into an energy sector that many of them view as “dangerous, unstable and bad for the environment”. A recent EY poll revealed that only 18% of millennials and 6% of Gen Zers find a career in oil and gas appealing.


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