by Stefanie Hanz, BHRM

    Exciting Millennial Futures in Oil and Gas

    It’s an exciting time for Millennials in the energy industry! With diverse domestic, international and offshore exploration and development projects underway around the world, opportunities are abundant for emerging young leaders to build their careers and help shape the future of the global energy sector.

    My Role in Recruitment

    Earlier this year, I made the decision to join the oil and gas industry to work on campus recruitment with Suncor Energy. What excites me most is the number of great job opportunities available in the industry.

    As the oils sands industry pioneer, Suncor has grown to become Canada’s premier integrated energy company, with a team of more than 12,000 employees. Over the next few years, our hiring needs will increase as we continue to staff for base operations and future growth. A corporation of this scope recognizes that to maintain that competitiveness into the future, it’s going to need bright new recruits for all of its operations.

    That’s why we have an extensive and strategic campus recruitment program in place that strives to align future leaders with the right jobs and career development opportunities in the organization. Our campus recruitment team will hire more than 700 students and recent grads in 2012.

    Students and Recent Grads in High Demand

    High-caliber professionals are always in demand in the energy industry. Recent research published by the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada highlights that labour shortages will increasingly become a challenge in the future because of shifting demographics. Many employees from the Baby Boom generation are preparing to retire, leaving vacancies for the generations following them.

    Campus recruitment is part of a proactive approach that anticipates ongoing workforce needs and ensures that we will have the right people with the right skills to fill jobs well into the future. In campus recruitment, we understand that we need to hire and retain the top performers. We work hard to find the “best-of-the-best” on campus before they graduate and enter the workforce fulltime.

    Investing in the Future

    People are our greatest resource and investing in attracting and developing a strong and capable workforce is an essential and strategic component to our success. All through the energy industry, large and small companies spend millions of dollars annually to attract top talent by hosting information sessions, attending career fairs, sponsoring events, offering scholarships and developing training programs.

    As well, once a student is hired employers, invest significant effort to train and develop their careers.

    Millennials have a great opportunity to benefit from these investment efforts. Career advancement opportunities are plentiful; compensation is high, and career growth accelerated for those who are committed to excelling.

    Opportunities in the Energy Sector

    The oil and gas industry offers students and grads beginning their careers diverse, well-rewarded and meaningful career opportunities to build experience for their resumes. Throughout the year, postsecondary students are given the opportunity to gain valuable work experience through co-op positions. These roles provide meaningful work where students work side by side with talented people in the energy industry, allowing them to start building their careers.

    Companies are looking for co-op students who are interested in pushing the frontiers of energy production and are eager to contribute, grow and succeed. Many co-op students who prove themselves with exceptional performance are able to secure a position for after graduation.

    Opportunities for students and recent grads are primarily available in business, engineering, earth sciences, and the trades and technology disciplines.

    Advancing and Succeeding

    When you are starting to build your career in oil and gas, I recommend seeking a company that is committed to the people and the communities where it has operations and, at the same time, shares values that are important to you. Also, consider the developmental and career opportunities available that align with your aspirations.

    The Suncor Engineer In Training (EIT) Program is a great example of the excellence in career development and training. This rotational training program provides aspiring professional engineers the opportunity to try various roles under the supervision of a Professional Engineer while they gain the experience they need to receive their professional designation.

    As an employer who values our human resources, we want our employees to feel that they are advancing and succeeding. So, as a company, we encourage our employees to take advantage of the many training opportunities we make available to them —from courses, seminars and coaching, to working on cross-functional teams and special projects.

    Picture yourself building a career where your contribution is valued, and where you’re learning and growing every day. That’s what you can expect in the energy industry.

    What It Takes

    Recruitment is not just a numbers game. It’s about hiring quality people with the right attitude and values who will benefit from meaningful work, contribute to their teams, and ultimately succeed within the organization.

    It’s not only employers that are competing to hire the right employees. Competition is high for people looking to break into careers in the energy industry, too.

    To get the most out of their classroom studies and gain the competitive edge in the workforce, students should begin building their professional network and getting valuable work experience while they are still in school. Having relevant previous work experience to refer to in a job interview will make the difference in landing the job.

    Student co-op positions offer a great opportunity to find employment related to a particular field of study. Student employees are given accountability and ownership over projects while they grow as part of a team and as an individual. This is what sets them apart from other job seekers and will give them the competitive edge in finding permanent employment after graduation.

    What You Can Do

    To learn how to take advantage of the opportunities available to student and new grads, it’s best to start networking now with industry professionals online and off. Try to learn everything you can about careers and jobs available in your field of study.

    To meet industry professionals, attend career fairs and information sessions; check campus and career websites for postings. Ask a current employee you know to put in a good word for you or to introduce you to someone of interest. Check with your co-op or career centre to see when employers will be on your campus.

    Seek opportunities to network online with recruiters through LinkedIn, Twitter and other social-networking sites. Create a career profile and apply online to jobs on corporate websites so recruiters have your information in their files and systems.

    The energy sector is an interesting world for Millennial careerists now, and it will continue to be so well into the future. Many opportunities for growth and development will continue to be available to people who work hard and put in the effort to network and gain valuable work experience early in their development.

    Stefanie Hanz, BHRM
    Campus Recruiter – Suncor Energy Inc.

    Stefanie Hanz, BHRM

    Talent Acquisition and Social Media Consultant

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