Focus: Human capital

The Talent Flow

Sep. 27, 2021

Abu Dhabi's national oil company, ADNOC has a vast network of pipelines spread throughout the Emirate, which ensures oil and gas flow from its fields to refinery sites and beyond to its global customers. None of these, however, include the company's most important pipeline, which is talent. In recent years, ADNOC has undergone a significant strategic reconfiguration with a full-scale rethink not only of its corporate structure, but its corporate culture as well, with a view toward diversifying the workforce to include more young people, women, and other groups that have traditionally been scarce in the oil and gas sector.

One of the focal points of ADNOC's talent strategy is its Future Leaders Program. The initiative identifies and cultivates 30 young individuals to build the talent necessary to take on key executive roles in the company. The ADNOC future leaders receive more than just industry-specific training. Their talents are developed across the spectrum, including training sessions in teamwork and decision-making at the Emirates Diplomatic Academy, for instance.

Despite the enormous economic significance of the oil and gas industry to Abu Dhabi, it is often not the career of choice for many of the Emirate's young graduates. Much of this is related to perceptions that the industry is rigid, technologically backward, and soon to be outdated. But with demand trends in Asia showing no signs of slowing down, oil and gas is here to stay, and the industry is becoming more technologically sophisticated every year. One of ADNOC's main strategic priorities, for instance, is the deployment of more “Oil & Gas 4.0” strategies, in which tools like AI, automation, and machine learning become standard in the sector.

The company is also focusing on investing in human capital through helping young Emiratis with their university and higher studies in disciplines that would create and add value to its 2030 smart growth strategy. Young Emiratis can pursue their studies as ADNOC scholars in several fields such as STEM, trade, finance, and other vital disciplines that can help ADNOC to keep pace with rapid technology developments.

“ADNOC Future Leaders Program is an integral part of ADNOC's strategy to develop a world-class workforce,” Sultan Al Jaber, ADNOC's CEO, told The Business Year. Future thinking, he explained, is central to the strategy.

The values of today's youth also have a lot to offer to oil and gas companies like ADNOC. A strong sense of individual identity in an increasingly interconnected world is often missing from today's oil executive, but it is a trait that will be standard in the industry's customers of tomorrow. Environmental and sustainability awareness, too, will be an important trait for oil and gas's future leaders. By getting ahead of these shifts in today's generation's thought patterns, ADNOC is tapping a resource that will fuel it for the next decade and beyond.

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