Abstract
CAVEAT

This paper was written and will be presented prior to the StatoilHydro merger on October 1st and describes "as is" at the time of writing. Some policies and measures described may change after the merger.

INTRODUCTION

This paper deals with the challenges facing an integrated oil and gas company which has a numerically small recruitment base locally, in a nation with a prosperous ageing workforce. Increasing numbers of potential retirees opt for early retirement to pursue what we may term an active life of leisure. Many older employees are in good health and have the financial means to fulfill their retirement dreams at an earlier age than previously known in the country.

Other older employees may experience a "wear and tear" effect and find themselves physically challenged to put in their previous amount of hours at work doing what they have previously mastered well. The paper will describe how the company has dealt with the challenge to make working life attractive and feasible for both these groups. The company has implemented a set of five new measures to both encourage and enable workers to work up to, but not beyond, today's pensionable age. Before describing these measures in details I would like to present you with some country and company background demographics.

COMPANY DEMOGRAPHICS

The company has its headquarters on the west coast of Norway and a staff of approximately 25.000 in 32 different countries. The larger part of the workforce is based in Norway and 20 percent of the workforce is over 55 years of age. At present only about two per cent of our employees are over 62 years of age.

The average age of a company employee today is 44 years of age with an average in-house experience of 12 years.

DEMOGRAPHICS

The country as a whole has a population of 4.6 million inhabitants of which 14.8 percent is 65 years or older. Median age of the population is 38.7. By comparison our lovely host country Thailand has a population of 65 million with 8.2% of the population 65 years or older with the median age being 32.4 yrs old.

Norwegian unemployment is low at 3.4%. A large proportion of the population is employed, largely due to the high number of women working outside the home; 7 out of ten women and 8 out of 10 men are employed.

BACKGROUND

Labour and pension rights are state regulated and trade unions can be heard in all major decisions. The State is currently a majority share holder with 70.9 percent of company shares.

The state regulated pensionable age for both men and women is 67 years for onshore workers and 65 years of age for offshoreworkers of both genders. Pensionable employees will receive a mixed state funded and company funded pension. Employees who are ill, be it for work related reasons or otherwise, may apply for a disability pension.

The large amount of expertise amassed in the +55 age group, sustainable resource management, political trends in the country as well as country demographics all played a part in the company decision to implement new measures to stop the brain drain of older employees by encouraging more employees to continue working up to the group's pensionable age.

CHALLENGE

A major challenge in the future will be to have enough employees with expertise relevant to the necessary tasks.

The challenges may be summarised as follows:

  • The availability of young people is in a decline nationally

  • The workforce is ageing

  • National trend that employees increasingly opt out for early retirement schemes

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