Oscar González
View from the Top

Adapting Standards and Talent the Reformed Industry

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 14:07

Q: What market conditions led to the creation of ARHIP, and how has the organization changed from its inception until today?

A: The oil industry’s Association of Human Resources for the Petroleum Industry (ARHIP) was established six years ago. We created the Association because we observed a lack of regulation in the compensation area of Mexico’s energy market, an issue that resulted from PEMEX’s position as the main client in the industry. The NOC’s different business lines did not have a common, homologated tabulator for the private industry, leading to disparities in salaries. Our aim was to standardize and regulate this aspect. A second task consisted of inviting companies to discuss best practices and create a portfolio of positions to fill vacancies.

The association’s main success has been the completion of an inquiry with over 236 positions, divided by business lines and by matching profiles, because small companies do not necessarily have the same salary tabulators as large ones. It is important to do so, as the same profile could be considered a junior for a large company, but a senior for a small company. We mainly worked with international firms to create the matching system, including AON Consulting, in order to gain credibility. This firm helped us collect the required information and match individuals to companies, while the use of a third party allowed us to avoid having to transfer and filter information between the members of our organization, keeping sensitive data private. AON Consulting holds the confidential information, and directly provides clients with reports.

Q: How is the entrance of international firms into Mexico modifying your strategy?

A: We have invited international players, such as Shell, BP, and Schlumberger to take part in our association. This has been somewhat challenging, as we have had to tropicalize certain concepts, mainly variable compensation schemes. These are some of the additional benefits that foreign companies could bring to Mexico and currently do not exist in the country. Although these do not necessary fall under the salary area, they could be related to training or certifications. The market still functions according to PEMEX, and the standards and certifications it has. The entrance of new companies into Mexico’s oil and gas industry will oblige current players to shift to international standards.

Q: How can ARHIP help companies prepare for the changes the Mexican oil and gas industry will experience once international companies begin operations in the country?

A: We were invited by the British Embassy to take part in exchange sessions in London with institutions from the energy sector in order to understand their certification processes and training schemes. Our aim is to work with educational institutions, governments, and the private sector to create a triple helix synergy to bring innovations to Mexico. The triple helix synergy involves the participation of the government, the education institutions, and companies in the industry, and the general aim is to create a cluster among these to foster collaborations. A concrete example is the new technological innovation centers in Tabasco, which came into existence through cooperation between the local government, the Ministry of Energy, and private companies.

Q: How do you work with universities to ensure their students will fulfill the industry’s future needs?

A: The association works with more than 30 local universities involved in the oil and gas industries. We are pushing for educational institutes to renovate their teaching programs so they are aligned with current market needs. This also involves an upgrading of their facilities and equipment, and they should have simulators and well schools installed.

ARHIP offers various sessions where we speak with students about industry expectations and how they can meet them. We like to call these “personal branding sessions”, because students can learn how to sell themselves to the industry. Our training courses in universities last two days, during which we have various panels with students about how to prepare to face the market after graduation.