Cooperation is Crucial to Close the Skills gapTue, 01/22/2013 - 13:04
Both Mexican and international companies are facing growing challenges to find potential employees with the profile to fill complex technical positions in the national oil and gas market. While there is a substantial applicant pool, many potential employees have characteristics that do not quite meet the ever evolving, increasingly technologically advanced, needs of the oil and gas industry. Fausto Muñíz Patiño shares his insight as President of Grupo PAE, a Mexican human resources company, on the mismatch between the current skill and experience level of Mexican oil and gas workers, and those required in the marketplace. “In our market search for personnel, PAE has found that there is a lack of skilled labor for specialized positions,” he says.
“The people we manage are on average 20 to 35 years old, and many either have intermediate qualifications, or have too much experience for certain positions and none for others. People with optimal profiles usually look to emigrate abroad,” Muñíz Patiño explains. Candidates who stay in the country and have average knowledge and skills often seek to obtain job stability and benefits to improve their quality of life, even though they are not meeting the requirements that oil and gas companies are looking for to fill vacancies. “Mexican candidates need to take their academic preparation more seriously, and not limit themselves to conformism,” Muñíz Patiño points out. “However, the responsibility for the skills gap not only lies with the candidates, it is shared among several players. The academic institutions must make internship programs a requirement for graduation. The government needs to improve its education programs to better train people, while also intensifying job creation and retention programs. Teachers must be better trained too, removing political factors from the education programs. Finally, human resources companies must reach out both to the government and private companies to create improved training programs for employees, since it is not formally required by law today.”
One of the reservations that international companies might have about hiring Mexican workers industry is based on the perception that some of them might bring ine·ciency, low productivity, and might be oered the job because of nepotism, among other cultural misconceptions. “PAE’s personnel management includes the service of replacing those workers that may hamper the companies’ operations with their malpractices,” Muñíz Patiño details. “This helps international companies to have certainty that the future Mexican workers they employ are competent, hard-working employees, with a high learning capacity.” Moreover, the introduction of probationary contracts included in the 2012 Labor Law Reform now empower companies to test hire candidates for trial periods of no longer than 30 days. This could eliminate the ordeals of permanently hiring candidates that could present problems eventually.
The main advantage that PAE has as a national company working in Mexico is in-depth understanding of the specific needs of companies working in the country’s oil and gas industry. “Knowledge of how to adequate handle human capital is a critical success factor for projects in this industry, and removing unnecessary burdens from companies to make their investment in the Mexican market e·cient has been a trademark for PAE,” Muñíz Patiño says.
“Being a fully Mexican company, PAE can act as a real commercial partner for foreign investors in the country. The search, acquisition, and retention of talent presents an important challenge for international companies trying to enter the Mexican market. With our support, international companies can turn this challenge into an opportunity to create sustainably competitive advantage. It is of great importance to perform an adequate profile search survey to adequately capture the client’s necessities within the context of its company’s culture. The main challenge is the adaptation to an ever-changing market, where a careful cost management is of the highest importance.”
“In an operating environment that is increasingly characterized by change – driven by global market trends, financial crisis, cost reduction necessities – there is growing demand for organized, responsible personnel, and outsourcing companies such as PAE are aiming to meet this need by positioning themselves as ideal human resource partner for oil and gas companies,” Muñíz Patiño states. With PAE’s recent opening in Peru, the company will be able to bring additional expertise to its already successful Mexican operation, while continuing to export national talent abroad. “We have created a talent network database that has allowed us to relocate Mexican workers and oer the expertise they have acquired to other countries,” he explains. “This way, we continue to export the best talent from Mexico and import best practices from other countries to improve the Mexican oil and gas industry.”