All posts by InterSearch

Flying through digital turbulence

Flying through digital turbulence

– by Nicholas Harvey, Regional Director – InterSearch Middle East

Digital and technological innovations have disrupted most industries, modernising their functioning, expanding markets and sometimes even displacing established entities. The pressure is on legacy airlines to own the revolution or be left motionless on the runway.

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Shifting Paradigms

Shifting Paradigms

Preparing skilled and trained human cadres in line with the future requirements of various economic sectors as well as the general directions of Vision 2040, is a collective responsibility of the government, education institutions, the private sector companies and other key stakeholders.

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Technology & Career trends in the Life Science Industry

Technology & Career trends in the Life Science Industry

It is a known fact that in both professional and personal areas of our lives, we are constantly experiencing changes influenced and triggered by technology. This is inevitable. Everyday we see new apps on mobile devices, new software and upgrades applicable to the performance of different functions in academia, research, healthcare, data management, financial services, cybersecurity, electoral records, data protection and the list goes on.

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Electric mobility may transform the Automotive industry like never before

Electric mobility may transform the Automotive industry like never before

It is a common and unanimous opinion among the operators that electric mobility is a growing sector becoming a trend not only sustained by an elite of technology passionate but something that represents an essential component for the future of the private transport and the public one as well.

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Global Board Survey 2019 – Creating Impact In And From The Boardroom

Global Board Survey 2019 – Creating Impact In And From The Boardroom

InterSearch – Worldwide Organization of Executive Search Firms in partnership with Board Network – The Danish Professional Directors Association are conducting a global survey among corporate board chairs and board members to gain their view on the most significant trends, changes and challenges.

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InterSearch Norway

InterSearch Worldwide partner in Norway re-branding – New name, New opportunities, Same passion

Since 2013, Sekse & Hogstad has been a highly valued member of InterSearch Worldwide; a leading global Executive Search firm with over 90 offices in 50 countries. Today we are excited to launch the new global brand name of InterSearch Norway to align with the firms ambitious growth strategy and depth of international focus for the future.
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AD Connect: Bringing the HR Leadership Community Together In Abu Dhabi

-by Asel Shilikbayeva

InterSearch Middle East Limited in Abu Dhabi recently conducted an AD Connect HR  Leaders Session in collaboration with Al Tamimi Law Firm and TechnipFMC. The seminar welcomed 24 HR Senior Leaders contributing to the discussion on the topic of The Role of Human Resources during Mergers and Acquisitions.

First Row, From L to R: Christopher Jakob, HR Director – Emirates Food Industries, Jane Cauilan, HR Manager – Serco Middle East, Suzanne Gingles, Associate – Al Tamimi Law & Co., Kolya Wyatt, HR Manager, Middle East and North Africa – OMV, Najem Al Teneiji, HR Manager – Masdar Institute of Technology, Duaa Al Zaabi, Senior Human Capital Manager – NPCC, Mina Ansari, Sr. HR Business Partner – TechnipFMC, Dina Helal, HR Manager – First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC, Vicky Noelanders, HR and Communications Manager – TechnipFMC, Gary Bentinck, HR Manager – Gulf Marine Services, Asel Shilikbayeva, Principal Consultant – InterSearch Middle East

Second Row, From L to R: Anoop Gandhi, VP Human Resources – TOTAL E&P, Fizza Sabir, HR Manager, Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa – DNV & GL, Andrew Bailey, General Manager – InterSearch Middle East, Ivor McGettigan, Partner – Al Tamimi Law & Co., Danie De Kock, HR Director – SNC Lavalin, Samah Shaalan, HR Manager – Khalifa University, Anton Du Plooy, HR & Administrative Manager – Chiyoda CCC, Khaled Twebi, HR Team Leader Libya & Expert Abu Dhabi – OMV

The session takes the form of an interactive roundtable bringing together HR professionals from leading organisations across various industries, to discuss current trends and challenges faced. InterSearch’s role is to facilitate and encourage an insightful debate on the chosen topic exploring its subject with all participants.

“AD Connect sessions are aimed to create a platform for the senior HR Leadership community in Abu Dhabi to discuss relevant topics, trends and challenges through informal collaborative discussions. It has become a unique opportunity for HR Leaders in the capital to network, learn and share knowledge with other professionals from diverse industries” explains Andrew Bailey, General Manager of InterSearch Middle East.

This session took place at the TechnipFMC office, a global leader in technologies, systems and services for energy projects, which operates as a unified company following the merger of FMC Technologies and Technip in 2017. The seminar brought an interesting discussion of case studies including one from TechnipFMC, and different perspectives on advantages of combined expertise and extended market exposure as a result of the merger; and various challenges that arose throughout the process. Attendees highlighted the importance of communication, change management skills, employee engagement and expectations handling along with data and the technological integration process in this ongoing transformational journey for both entities.

“I believe it (AD Connect) to be an excellent initiative for knowledge sharing and networking amongst other like-minded HR professionals, and I look forward to more to come this year” – Vicky Noelanders, HR and Communications Manager at Technip FMC, and host of the event.

The theme of Emiratisation, Artificial Intelligence and Big Data in Human Resources are topics for discussion at forthcoming sessions in Abu Dhabi.

Previous seminars were focused on topics such as the Emotional Intelligence and Intercultural Competence and the Role of Human Resources During the Downturn sponsored by the New York University Abu Dhabi Campus and BP, respectively.

“It is quite refreshing to meet with other HR professionals, benchmark and discuss operational and strategic matters relevant to our respective businesses” – Christopher Jakob, HR Director at Emirates Food Industries.

“These kind of sessions are one of the best ways to share information and details on best practices and approaches from various companies and industries.” – Khaled Twebi, HR Team Leader Libya at OMV Middle East & Africa.

The AD Connect HR Leaders Sessions are aimed to be conducted on a quarterly basis in Abu Dhabi. They provide a framework for relevant and healthy debate, which promotes learning and sharing of knowledge on theory and practical examples facing the modern HR Leader. This intelligence and exchange of ideas is crucial in today’s fast-moving and ever-changing market conditions.

InterSearch Oman Chairman, Mohammed Al Kharusi moderated the 2017 OPAL Oil & Gas Conference panel discussion

InterSearch Oman Chairman, Mohammed Al Kharusi moderated the 2017 OPAL Oil & Gas Conference panel discussion held in Muscat, Oman from October 30th – 31st

Among the panelists were:

His Excellency Salim bin Said Al  Aufi, Undersecretary, Ministry of Oil & Gas

Raoul Restucci, Managing Director, Petroleum Development Oman (PDO)

Steve Kelly, President and General Manager, Occidental of Oman Inc. (OXY Oman)

John Malcolm, Executive Managing Director, Oman Oil Company Exploration & Production (OOCEP)

Yousuf Ali Ojaili, BP Oman

Dr.Amer Al Rawas, Chairman, Oman Society for Petroleum Services  (OPAL)

Mohammed Al Jahwari, Chief Executive Officer, HydroCarbon Finder Oman (HCF)

The Great Crew Change

-by Asel Shilikbayeva, Principal Consultant – InterSearch Middle East ( Abu Dhabi Office)

The recent downturn in the oil and gas sector followed by the US shale boom and technological advances in the area of exploration & production (E&P) has led to unprecedented skills and challenges faced by companies today. Since 2014, companies understandably focused on cost reduction, including downsizing their workforces shedding over 440,000 jobs globally (1).

The industry, however, is on the edge of a demographic fall with an ageing workforce approaching or surpassing its retirement age, shortage of mid-career professionals and not enough fresh talent finding the sector attractive to join due to its poor image. These challenges are particularly significant in the context of rapidly growing demand for energy as well as global calls for greater adherence to responsible social and environmental practices. According to the International Energy Agency’s 2016 forecast, the demand for energy will increase 1.2 percent per year until 2035, with hydrocarbons continuing to supply at least half of the world’s energy needs (2). This is being compounded by the rapid growth in workforce demand fueled by deep water activity in West Africa, Eastern Mediterranean and Brazil, frontier developments in Mozambique and Tanzania and the shale boom in North America.

With oil and gas experts exiting the sector this may lead to an increase in recordable safety incidents or even unplanned equipment downtime if it cannot be promptly replaced. There is also a risk in valuable institutional knowledge being lost unless it is transferred to others. The shortage in skilled talent has major implications for the industry’s pipeline of top leadership, which tends to move up from the ranks of experienced managers in skilled technical positions. With this skills change dubbed as the Great Crew Change, companies face an even more significant challenge: crew change at the top.

Many leading energy companies have begun making their own plans to address increased retirements and help prevent critical skills gaps that could derail their growth ambitions. These plans have incorporated a number of forward-looking initiatives designed for a smooth transition including succession planning, accelerated development and mentoring programs, enhanced recruiting strategies and a variety of knowledge transfer programs.

There are three major emerging forces that are changing the future talent landscape in ways that have not been experienced by the sector before:

First, it is the debate over the long term future of the petroleum sector triggered by the rapid growth in the renewables and electric vehicle technologies. Leading forums and consultancies such as the World Energy Council and McKinsey & Company predict that oil demand would peak at around 100 million barrels a day by 2030 – a striking shift from bullish projections of 118 million barrels a day and higher in the years preceding the downturn (3). Hydrocarbons will retain its majority share of the energy supply for the foreseeable future, but the balance is changing and the greener future does seem assured. Experts believe that tightening climate regulations and competitive economics of renewable energy will further accelerate this trend, casting doubts over the revival of large scale capital spending in the E&P sector.

The second force is the digital revolution that has brought an explosion of technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence, robots, 3D printing, Cloud, and more recently block chain. These technologies are predicted to shape the future jobs creating requirements of the new set of skills, not all of which are possibly known today. While E&P firms are still warming up to them, the adoption is inevitable and will gradually pick up as mentioned by various research firms.


Third is emergence of the millennials generation in the corporate world. It is expected that the millennials will form a majority of the workforce by as early as 2020 (4). Much has been written about the millennials: their digital proficiencies, career preferences and search for the purposeful jobs. Their appearance at the management level will adjust hierarchical and conservative organizational culture, siloed work environment and highly specialized career paths typical to the petroleum sector.  In addition, the millennials are increasingly mobile and their proneness to technology advancements will change the type of work they perform. These factors are exacerbating the war for talent by extending competition beyond local, and even national, labor markets.

The forth force is the focus vastly on agile and improved efficiency at around US$50 “lower for longer” oil price environment.  This is essential for the industry at the moment and translates in avoidance of any form of complexity, which may slow down exploration programme or commercialization of new discoveries. In order to discontinue fueling a shortage of skilled workers into the future, companies need to pursue talent processes that better manage the attraction and retention of engineering and technical talent. At the same time, development and training programs should also focus on fostering a higher level of cost consciousness among existing workforces, who will likely be asked to operate in more fiscally constrained manners going forward.

In both the short and long-term, oil and gas companies face a number of workforce issues ranging from low commodity prices to perceptions of the industry and generational preferences, regulatory changes and technology developments. Continued success will require attracting, managing and retaining a workforce which not only sustains the business, but also innovates and executes in a powerful new way.



  1. David Wethe, “Oil Drillers Are Expanding Again After Losing Half-Million Jobs,” Bloomberg, January 9, 2017.
  2. International Energy Agency (IEA), “World Energy Outlook 2016”.
  3. Bram Smeets, Angelos Platanias, “The Outlook For Crude: A Thought Experiment”, Energy Insights by McKinsey, June 2016.
  4. David Andrews, Aleek Datta, Charles Newnam, Jean-Marie Rousset, “The Talent Well Has Run Dry”, Accenture, 2017.