Young Professionals PerSPEctives

Below, two young professionals answer some of the Forum questions: Tamir Aggour of Saudi Arabia and Fabrice Okassa of Congo.



Tamir Aggour of Saudi Arabia

Fabrice Okassa of Congo

Do you believe that the younger generation lacks an in-depth knowledge of basic principles of science and technology and has less intuition compared with more senior professionals?

No. I believe that most universities produce graduates with a solid understanding of basic principles. It is perhaps not as in-depth compared with more senior professionals, because modern petroleum engineering programs have to deal with educating students about a lot more technology than was around in the past. The time taken to teach modern technology has taken some time away from fundamentals. There is also pressure on some universities to reduce the number of hours required to graduate, and there are mandates to include more nontechnical courses in the humanities.

No. Younger generations have a more in-depth knowledge of the basic principles of science and technology.

Although there may be a difference in working styles, attitudes, and perceptions in older and younger generations in the E&P industry, do you believe that the energy industry has changed for the better or for the worse over the past 20 years in terms of industry objectives, values, and work ethics?

Yes and no. The main objectives of the industry have always been, and will continue to be, to supply the world’s ever-growing energy demand in a profitable manner. We are here to produce hydrocarbons and make a whole lot of money; this is and always will be the bottom line. The industry will always seek more efficient and economical techniques to accomplish its goals, and the mature nature of many fields means that the focus on technological advancement may have shifted toward improving recovery.

The values of the industry have changed, specifically in the area of environmental awareness. This shift has developed from being a burden, that people put up with and pay lip service to, to a genuine concern. Also, the globalization of the industry has changed its values for the better, leading to a better acceptance, understanding, and appreciation of the value added by having a multinational and diverse workforce. There is also a better acceptance of the value that women can add to the industry, which is a long overdue and still ongoing process.

It changed for the better for all of these aspects. Over time, the energy industry has adopted new concepts that have improved and clarified goals, procedures, and business revenues. For example, today the health, safety, and environment division is a crucial section in any energy company.

Do more senior professionals uphold stronger corporate ethics and business practices compared with their younger counterparts?

No. Today’s young engineers are just as ethical as their older counterparts, and even receive more formal training (in university and at the workplace) in this issue compared with more senior professionals. I would also point out that the majority of recent corporate scandals in all industries have been perpetrated by more senior professionals, who are in the higher positions where they can abuse their power. Let’s see how many scandals happen when we reach senior management age, then we can compare!

I do think that senior professionals have better business practices. We have grown up in a much more casual and less formal environment, and business practices reflect this. However, I would not say that we have worse etiquette; there is just a different standard now, which is less formal than it used to be. We could learn something from more senior professionals here.

More experienced professionals demonstrate greater ethics and business etiquette. Young professionals demonstrate more compatibility in a group and/or willingness to come together to work on a solution and are more committed to getting the job done.

Senior professionals are like goalkeepers because they try as much as possible to keep the structure functioning as it used to be. Young professionals try to push hard to find solutions because of the ability to analyze problems with new work methods.

Comparing younger and more senior professionals, do you believe that the younger generation has broader interests or more specialized interests?

I do not think that this is a fair question. It is natural that younger engineers will not yet be specialized as they are early in their careers. This is the time to become aware of all aspects of the industry, which will ultimately lead to being a better engineer. With experience comes the opportunity to specialize in specific areas, but one must first be aware of all the opportunities. With that awareness, engineers can identify which areas interest them the most, and seek to become specialists. To be an effective specialist, there must be a matching of the engineer’s interest in the field and the company’s need for a specialist in that area. By identifying these matches, a company will be able to develop young engineers into specialists in disciplines that they will be enthusiastic about and that will serve the company’s needs. Also keep in mind that employers are asking for well-rounded professionals who have the ability to adapt and be lifelong learners, not for graduating specialists.

I agree that more senior professionals are more likely to have more specialized interests and that younger professionals would tend to have broader interests.

Do you believe that more senior professionals are more driven by a knowledge- and experience-based paradigm, whereas young professionals are probably more results- and performance-oriented?

No. To my knowledge, the industry has always rewarded results and performance. It has also always seen the value in experience and knowledge. I do not think this has changed or that there is a major difference between the present and the past.



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