Human Capital Management and HR Strategy Amidst Falling Oil Prices

The precipitous drop in oil prices may prove to be dangerously disruptive for certain companies. On the other hand, this disruption creates significant opportunities for some to gain competitive advantage. While HR professionals must take short-term actions in response to market realities, they also must consider the long term and strengthen their business in order to compete in an ever-increasing volatile marketplace.

Managing through disruption – A human resource perspective

Within days of OPEC’s decision not to cut production in November 2014 and as the slide in oil prices began, Mercer released a spot survey, “2015 Changing Energy Industry Dynamics,” to understand what HR professionals were considering or planning in response to the disruption. The Survey looked for insight into 2015 actions as well as 2016 and beyond.

“With the continued drop in oil prices, there are daily headlines around the world about the effect on economies, companies, communities, and individuals. It would be an understatement to characterize the oil and gas market as dynamic – we are clearly experiencing a market disruption. Disruption, however, can be managed, and we believe no matter the impact on a particular business, there are ways to manage through this downturn that mitigate risks and enhance organizational strength and performance over time.”



– Philip Tenenbaum, Global Leader, Mercer Energy Vertical


Results over the six-week survey period showed a significant shift from “wait and see” to “definitive” action – not surprising given the swift and dramatic change in market fundamentals. Outlined below are HR’s highest-ranked responses to the changes in business strategy and direction. These new results represent a drastic change from the previously reported challenge of keeping up with growth, as recently as mid-2014.

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Learn about specific impacts to 2015 business strategy and the resulting HR strategies with this exclusive research, Oil and Gas: Managing Human Capital Assets During a Market Disruption.
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