Energy professionals say AI will drive demand for human skills

Energy professionals say AI will drive demand for human skills

GETI 2024 discovered 90% of energy professionals expect AI to increase demand for – and influence them to learn – new skills such as programming, IT, critical thinking and creativity. The top three uses of AI in the oil and gas sector were revealed as automated workflow and workplace collaboration tools; safety and inspection improvements; and remote monitoring and automation.

The eighth annual Global Energy Talent Index (GETI), one of the world’s most established and comprehensive energy workforce trends reports, reveals that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to boost workforce productivity and job satisfaction and drive demand for new skills across the industry.

According to the report produced by Airswift, in contrast to popular perceptions of automation replacing human jobs, 95% of energy professionals expect AI to increase demand for human skills, particularly technical skills such as programming/software engineering and IT, and soft skills such as critical thinking/problem solving and creativity.

The majority (92%) of professionals believe AI will prompt them to acquire new, in-demand skills ranging from cybersecurity to creativity. 

Amid accelerating energy industry automation, almost two-fifths (38%) of energy professionals are already using AI or will begin to do so within six months, and 82% are optimistic about its impact. Most professionals (74%) believe automation will boost their productivity, 60% say it will improve career prospects and job satisfaction and 54% believe it will even improve work/life balance by freeing up more time for family and friends. 

According to the report, oil and gas emerges as the sector with the lowest rates of AI adoption, stymied by a lack of employee support and financial backing due to ingrained skills and investments in older technology.

Although workers voice their concerns, many see the upsides of automation in freeing time for families, increasing career opportunities and boosting innovation and production. Successful AI transformation must march in step with skills development and smart recruitment to attain the full benefits and broadest workforce support.

“AI is increasing the demand for skills in the energy industry in everything from data security to software engineering,” said Janette Marx, CEO of Airswift. “Meanwhile automating repetitive, logical tasks is unlocking the opportunity for greater use of human skills such as critical thinking and creativity, while freeing up time for professionals to develop these skills.

“Energy professionals that learn these newly in-demand skills will have more career choices in the future. Energy companies need to future-proof their skills base by transforming training to align with emerging AI skills gaps, while also recruiting talent from outside industries such as technology,” added Marx.

Professionals anticipate some pitfalls to growing industry adoption of AI, especially lack of human or personal touch (42%), lack of training leading to misuse or poor adoption (33%) and the potential for cybersecurity risks (30%). A third of energy companies now have AI policies that address some of these concerns such as data protection, integrity and security (52%) and training requirements (42%); however, that leaves a significant portion that have yet to implement a formal AI policy.

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