March 2020, Vol. 247, No. 3


Taking Responsibility for Next Generation of Pipeline Talent

By James Leigh, Recruiting Specialist, ABN Resource

As the discussion around the skills gap in pipeline continues, clients ask me what they should be doing as a business to attract new talent, and how they can help those from outside the industry transition into a career in the market.

Recruiting specifically for pipeline also means I hear from individuals on the opposite side of the fence, those who are fresh from university or trained in a different discipline, looking for advice on how to upskill or move into the industry.

From my experience, both sides have an important part to play. Pipeline companies have a responsibility to showcase the market as an attractive place to work (such as one that’s pioneering new technology), while those outside the market have a responsibility to demonstrate the wider “soft” skills they can bring to the table.

Those who are serious about starting or pivoting their career to pipeline can set themselves up for success by taking the following initiatives. 

Personal Brand

Start by defining your personal brand. Gain an understanding of the core issues the industry faces (from industry magazines, online publications, etc.), then think about how your own “soft” or transferable skills could align with these in order to support the industry on these challenges. 

Now more than ever we need a wider skill set in the talent pool to drive the industry forward, providing further opportunities for those with experience in areas such as big data, IT, sustainability, digital, legal, etc. 

Once you’re clear on what important skills you can bring to the market, reach out to those already involved in pipeline. With tools like LinkedIn at your fingertips, it’s easy to locate an individual at a company and ask for advice, even for an introduction to a role for which you might be suitable. 

You should also seek out the dedicated organizations for young people in the industry like the regional Young Pipeline Professionals (YPP) groups. One thing I’ve found time and time again is that the market is very collaborative by nature, so don’t be afraid to reach out and get some valuable insights.

Keeping in mind how collaborative the market is, it would also be valuable to attend an industry conference or event to meet the community and make new connections. Attending talks and presentations will also help to accelerate your knowledge of the market. 

To deepen your knowledge, not only should you be reading industry magazines or websites, but also subscribing to things like pipeline company newsletters and any free resources available online. 

Current pipeline professionals and businesses can play a vital role in encouraging the uptake of pipeline careers.

Let’s be honest, from the outside looking in, pipeline can look like a dull market – one that seems complex to grasp and one in which participation could lead to difficult conversations with family and friends. Once you’re in the industry however, you see things from a different perspective. You’ll realize all the new technology we’re pioneering, the increasing sustainability efforts, the funding to local communities and the support among organizations. You also have a real understanding of just how vital pipelines are to modern life, something which, even now, there is a distinct lack of public knowledge.

To really make a case for pipeline as a rewarding and interesting career, it’s time to stop shying away from social media and other online platforms.

Of course, there will always be some pushback, but this is something all industries face online now. Education is key here to help the public truly comprehend the value of pipeline and the work going on behind the scenes.

Education Sector

In the current education climate, resource allocation and funding can be an issue, with teachers often struggling to provide new or additional learning tools for students.

If we want schools to better engage young people in pipelines, then we should be the ones providing them with the tools and resources they need to achieve this. Businesses could do this by providing an online learning and information section on their company website, sending digital learning materials to schools or by creating a volunteer program, enabling employees to speak in schools and universities.

To really allow potential employees to get a feel for what it’s like to work in the market, we must open our doors to them in the form of apprenticeships or even one-day experience programs. 

For those about to step into the market, reassurance that a proper training structure is in place can be the difference between them accepting an offer or not. Learning and development should be a continuous part of a person’s career, especially someone who is new to the market. 

Make sure they have the opportunity to learn within their working week and encourage their participation in industry organizations. YPP USA, for example, provides monthly live webinars for its young members, which are often carried out during lunch break hours to make access easier.

It’s clear that the changing landscape of pipeline means that there’s never been a better time to consider a career in the market. I’m confident that with the right exposure, we as an industry, can rival the likes of tech or finance as a rewarding and interesting career to pursue.   

Author: James Leigh has been hiring talent in the pipeline industry for more than 10 years as a recruiter, utilizing technologies, including ABN Resource’s candidate delivery platform.

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