Use of Big Data is Necessary to Recruit Millennials in Oil, Gas


More Human Resources (HR) professionals are being encouraged to move past traditional ways of recruiting and use Big Data as a strategy to recruit millennials. In a SkillSurvey webinar presented by Kris Cooper, chief human resources officer for MorseLife, Cooper described Big Data as “the new hot girl at the dance.” 

Cooper, who has 20 years of senior leadership in HR, both domestically and internationally, said that those in talent acquisition are usually known to adapt early to new technologies. Those individuals are now being forced to rethink their technologies.

Just a few years ago, there was a huge push to social media for recruiting efforts. Back then, social media was the new hot girl at the dance, said Cooper, because it was a way to promote and encourage his brand and attract people who wouldn’t typically approach traditional job boards.    

While some are reluctant to use Big Data as a recruiting tool, Cooper said it’s necessary because social media is not going to be effective in the future.

“For the next 19 years, 10,000 people per day will turn 65 or older and retire shortly thereafter,” he said. “The bottom line is we are not adequately preparing younger workers to replace those about to retire.”

This shortage of qualified workers, or Great Crew Change, is the same challenge the oil and gas industry has been grappling with in addition to the industry downturn. It’s very clear recruiters will need to attract the attention of millennials, whom some say will comprise 75 percent of the workforce, according to Cooper. However, he found that only one-third of businesses had strategies to recruit millennials.

According to Cooper, Big Data is broken down into the three Vs:

  • Volume
  • Variety
  • Velocity

But, due to the high volume of tweets, the variety of YouTube videos and the high speed Big Data is delivered, it can be overwhelming. Cooper said HR professionals can start identifying Big Data inside their own office: employee demographics, performance ratings and completed training. His team conducted research and found:

  • Millennials prioritize meaningful work over high pay; they want to have a significant contribution
  • One in three millennials said that social media freedom is a higher priority than salary
  • Seventy percent of millennials plan to change jobs once the economy improves … “they have a ‘nothing is forever’ attitude and they’re always open for opportunities,” Cooper said.
  • Thirty percent of millennials started a business in college

Cooper explained that millennials like authenticity and freedom and care about company values and how they can get promoted and advance their careers.

Recruiters for oil and gas would also be tasked with recruiting a generation that is particularly environmentally-conscious, so using Big Data may help in how to appeal to millennials. Cooper said Big Data produces three main results:

  • establishing patterns
  • predicting the unpredictable
  • decreasing uncertainty

“Big Data is an opportunity to take blinders off everything that we’re doing,” Cooper said. “Big Data really levels the playing field by summarizing data points in a way to provide answers to important questions” of HR professionals.



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