Abstract

The current energy industry has evolved into a dynamic mix of rooted traditions and new innovation. As young professionals replace the baby boomer generation, the face of the oil and gas is changing, including the way we create, transfer and keep knowledge within the industry and individual organizations.

The industry is built on the principle of continuous development, ranging from technical advancements to sustainability. How knowledge is transferred and created determines the rate and direction of that development. Explicit and tacit knowledge transfer are instrumental for progression, but as the industry is experiencing a reduction of senior technical mentors it is also battling the phenomena of younger professionals engaging in 'career sampling'. The underlying question remains: is the industry is compromising the quality and accessibility of good mentorship by indulging the career trajectories of a less loyal employee generation? Alternatively, can the industry build long term skills while also providing enticing career paths to junior professionals, and continue to grow and progress at a necessary pace?

The paper will focus on two sides of knowledge transfer. Firstly, we will examine the availability and quality of appropriate mentorship given the changes to the professional workforce in the industry - in particular the learning styles and generational value differences. Secondly, we will discuss the retention and transferability of skills and knowledge when professionals move more frequently between organizations, and the impact on innovation and continuous improvement in both the industry and the organization. Information for this paper is collected from special focus groups within industry, management consultancy results, as well as inferences from published industry papers and conferences.

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