Great crew change—fact or fiction?

Near-term talent shortage widely held belief. But many plan to work beyond retirement.

The ‘great crew change’ (GCC), the menace of a near-term talent shortage as ‘boomer’ engineers and geoscientists retire, has been widely presented as threatening the industry with a significant loss of expertise. UK-based recruitment specialist Working Smart, with support from the American Petroleum Geologists Association, recently quizzed industry personnel aged 55 and up to assess their retirement plans. 78% of respondents considered the GCC to be real.

The average intended retirement age of respondents was 65 although 23% were looking to eke out their pensions by working beyond their retirement age. Over half were willing to work four days per week, ‘or as many days as they can secure.’ The main reason was not the money, but because they enjoy working.

Most felt that mentoring younger staff was a good way to combat the expected skills shortage. But many believe that the ‘bean counters’ running the show ‘need to understand that without knowledge transfer, we risk losing a sustainable industry for the future.’ Some 77% of respondents were currently mentoring staff. Other ideas included a more multicultural workforce, lowering academic barriers to hire and succession planning. Our industry would also benefit from a better public image. Maybe we should revive the TV show ‘Dallas!’ More from

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