Óscar González

A Triple-Helix Strategy to Ensure the Industry's Future

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 17:22

Mexico’s energy market has placed emphasis on addressing various disparities, the most impacting of which may be the gap between the oil and gas industry’s needs in terms of human capital, the pool and pipeline of avasilable talent, and government and industry initiatives to solve this challenge. “Certain universities have failed to grasp the importance of soft skills in the new market, for instance,” says Óscar González, President of the Association of Human Resources for the Petroleum Industry (ARHIP), adding that this is exactly the challenge that his association is tackling. ARHIP came into being in 2010 and was specifically created after the founders observed a lack of regulation in the compensation area of Mexico’s energy market, which González claims was a result of PEMEX’s position as the industry’s main client. “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 homogenize and regulate this aspect,” he states. The Association’s main success so far has been the completion of an inquiry with over 236 positions, divided by business lines, and the fact that it has taken care to match profiles properly. “To do so,” González reports, “we mainly worked with international firms, including AON Consulting, in order to gain credibility. We worked together to collect the required information and to carry out individual matching by company. The use of a third party allowed us to avoid having to transfer and filter information between the various companies in our organization, keeping sensitive data private. AON Consulting holds the confidentiality information, and directly provides clients with deliverables,” he reassures. The opening of Mexico’s oil and gas sector has led ARHIP to invite international players, such as Shell, BP, and Schlumberger into its association. González reports that this has been somewhat challenging because certain concepts had to be tropicalized, such as variable compensation.

In order to smooth the transition to a new oil and gas industry for its members, ARHIP also works with educational institutions, governments, and the private sector to create a triple helix synergy. “The triple helix synergy involves the tripartite participation of the government, the educational institutions, and companies in the industry, and the general aim is to create a cluster between these so they can work together,” González expounds. He gives the example of the new technological innovation centers in Tabasco, which came into existence through cooperation between the local government, the Ministry of Energy, and private companies. “Our aim is to support the industry and to provide companies with any tools they may need. To do so, ARHIP also looks to take advantage of the resources of countries that have open, developed, and successful energy markets, and brings them to Mexico. Recently, we were invited by the Ministry of Energy to an initiative in Canada where we were able to exchange online courses with the University of Calgary in Alberta,” González discloses. “We also work with more than 30 local universities involved in the oil and gas industries, such as the National Polytechnic Institute, UNAM, and UNACAR. We are pushing for educational institutes to renovate their teaching programs so they are in line with current market needs. This also involves an upgrade of their facilities and equipment, as well as installing simulators and well schools.”

ARHIP also seeks to have a close collaboration with students across the country’s universities that have courses related to the oil and gas industry, in order to prepare students to enter the labor market. “We like to call these personal branding sessions, because students can learn how to sell themselves to the industry,” González mentions. “One of the skills that we believe to be crucial for success in today’s globalized oil and gas industry is the mastering of English, which is why we are pushing for universities to offer this as a basic course within all industry programs. Soft skills such as leadership, communication, and intra-personal capabilities are also becoming increasingly important.”