A Reuters report indicates something that most Africans already know: “Africa, an increasing supplier of global energy, may be unable to expand its output as fast as expected in coming years due to a shortage of industry skills. Inadequate schools and relative poverty mean Africa is badly placed to compete for the expertise it will need to develop new fields, a situation only made worse by a wider international shortage of oil and gas engineers and geologists…. Nobody’s talking about it in Africa. What they’re talking about is creating jobs generally. But creating something like a petroleum engineer takes 10 years. As they start developing the big fields, you don’t just go create a petroleum engineer job.”
But this report of 30 June (read it here) goes a step further and indicates that the issue of an ageing workforce and knowledge continuity – such critical issues in many Western countries – is equally a problem in Africa.
Africa’s race for oil talent is replicated in other regions of the energy sector, an industry with an ageing workforce suffering a lack of skills after years of cuts and layoffs with consolidations and mergers. The workforce’s average age is 48. But Africa’s relative poverty means it is less able to keep talented people. Poaching of staff is a constant problem.