HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY
LET’S FACE IT – traditional approaches for job search are outdated and not helping the thousands of professionals – including geoscientists - who are STILL unemployed or underemployed in what is becoming one of Alberta’s worst ever recessions.
Why? Because 2017 is a completely different playing field.
GEOSCIENCE EMPLOYMENT ROUNDTABLE
“The industry will never be the same again, much like how we saw permanent changes occur in the 1980s [...] We are now looking to a future that will require new, adaptive approaches from both geoscience professionals and the oil and gas industry in order for both to thrive.”
- John Hogg, President of AAPG
In 2016, Higher Landing hosted an executive roundtable attended by association presidents and oil and gas industry stakeholders to tackle the geoscience employment crisis and debate the future of the industry and how to get Alberta’s geoscience community back to work.
The meeting was chaired by John Hogg, sitting President of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. Panelists included Marian Hanna, President of the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Anthony Cadrin, Past-President of the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists, and Dan Allan, President of the Canadian Society for Unconventional Resources.
Hogg delivered a presentation on how the market has shifted and what geoscience professionals can do to open up opportunities inside and outside of oil and gas. He cited the story of John Hickenlooper, former oil and gas geologist turned Brewmaster turned Governor of Denver, as an example of the kind of career transformation that might inspire out-of- work geoscience professionals.
Dan Allan said, “We need to convey awareness of what is happening to our technical ranks with all of these layoffs. We now have a very large segment of our technical professionals without jobs. Many will never return to oil and gas. We need to transition them into other professions and opportunities.”
Whether you agree or not, discussion highlights were sobering:
- It will be another 24-36 months until jobs are available. And half of geoscientists who were originally laid off won’t have jobs available to them. And which jobs are actually coming back?
- We need to understand how to transfer our knowledge and skills to create value for other industries: geoscientists sell deals, usually good with numbers, data, strategy and economics, make good project managers and are excellent problem solvers.
- We need to educate HR on geoscientist skills so they consider geoscientists for roles in other industries.
- We need to overcome the stigma that “once oil picks up, they will leave and go back to the oil industry”. We need to convince employers that this won’t necessarily happen.
THE PERFECT STORM
A huge paradigm shift has swept in with a whole new future of work. Job search and career management has changed forever and it will especially be felt in Calgary in 2017, What worked 5 years ago doesn’t work today. Here’s what we’ll see. As a matter of fact, it’s happening already:
- 9 to 5 jobs and jobs for life - are going the way of the dodo bird.
- Hidden job market - more people are landing jobs that are not advertised or created yet.
- Value vs loyalty. You’ll be rewarded for the value you bring vs loyalty or time spent. If you don’t know your value, you won’t attract the best opportunities because you will need to educate someone on why they should hire you.
- Knowing your value – and your brand – will be everything in 2017. To own your brand, you need to own your weirdness. This means discovering (vs apologizing for) your talents and passions.
- Discontinuous career paths. Expect many jobs and many careers over a lifetime.
- Flexible work. There will be more contractors, part-time work and job sharing. And keep an eye out for more “portfolio workers” and “career passports”.
- Career security replacing job security (millennials are especially comfortable with this). As a result, more people will be jobless but not workless.
- Demonstrate learnability. The capacity to learn is more important than skills.
- Different hard and soft skill sets. Along with the rise in more strategic, specialist and technical jobs and cloud computing will be an increased demand for soft skills such as creativity, communication, innovative thinking.
- Machines replacing jobs. More white collar admin jobs will be replaced by machines. Plus, some studies have shown that 65% of primary school kids will work in jobs that don’t yet exist!
- Work with a purpose. More people are demanding work that makes an impact in the world congruent to their values.
- Unpredictable labor markets. New technology will cause major disruptions, causing highly unpredictable labor markets.
- The job lottery. Spinning your resume on social media usually doesn’t work and can be likened to playing the job lottery.
- Mentoring. Expect to mentor - and be mentored - regardless of your age. Whether you are a baby boomer or millenial, expect to mentor, and be mentored, by each other.
What does all this mean for Alberta’s workforce?
- 2017 in Calgary is about transferrable skills and being able to market value, or “secret sauce” vs your education, profession or last job title. You have to stand out because it’s so competitive. You must know your “Wow! Factors!”, as we call them.
- Life long learning is going to be key – use any down time to upskill or reskill.
- The best of everyone has an agent – rock stars, athletes, actors. Professionals will be no different and will have professional career agents to help manage their careers – they can’t do it alone, nor should they expect to. Maintaining a professional network will be key.
You wouldn’t do your own plumbing unless you were a plumber. The same applies to managing your own career. You’ll need to engage advocates or professionals to help you.
The new reality of job search in 2017 is that you need to be SMART, STRATEGIC AND PROACTIVE. So remember your value, create a strong brand that has targeted market appeal, and appoint a team to proactively and strategically market you to industry. And when you make it up the ladder, make sure to offer a helping hand to those still trying to make the climb.
PERSONAL CAREER BRANDING FOR GEOSCIENCE PROFESSIONALS
To thrive in 2017, you MUST know how to communicate your value in a way that truly separates you from the pack. Higher Landing will be hosting an important career branding workshop at GeoConvention 2017. This critical workshop will prepare you for the future of work as a geoscientist and help you start building your brand by knowing, believing and sharing what makes you extraordinary and learn the secrets of standing out to strategic prospects.
Discover the secrets to our 80% landing rate in one of North America’s toughest economies and brand yourself for the 2017 job market.
We will teach geoscience professionals how to:
- Build their brand for the 2017 job market.
- Identify transferrable skills.
- Define their “secret sauce” and how to take that to market.
- Understand what sets them apart.
- Show them how to test their brand in the “Grizzly Den”… and much more.
ENTER THE GRIZZLY DEN
If you think the Dragon’s Den is entertaining, wait until you see geoscientists pitch themselves to a live panel of influential business leaders to land their dream jobs at our live GRIZZLY DEN at GeoConvention 2017. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to learn what decision makers are looking for when assessing the unique brand value and marketability of a geoscientist.
Plus, you can join the fun with interactive audience voting.
SMART Technologies will take this event to whole new level with the latest smartboard technology and interactive audience voting.
Hope to see you there!
If you have any questions about managing or transitioning your career as a geoscientist, please contact us at email@example.com.
Jackie Rafter, President
Higher Landing Inc.