When you think petrochemical company, chances are, you think of Shell. Over 90,000 employees in more than 70 countries around the world are employed at Shell operations, which include 30+ existing refineries and chemical plants. The company’s goal is to meet the growing demand for energy worldwide in ways that minimize environmental and social impact. Growing Shell’s production of 3.2 million barrels of oil equivalent every day, while building and developing the company’s significant petrochemical and refining businesses, depends on a very thorough level of planning by employees around the world.
Kimberly Corley is one member of the global Shell team. She’s been in the oil and gas industry for decades and is GM Workforce Development and Construction Risk Mitigation, in the Houston, Texas area. Corley is a big supporter of workforce planning and, in particular, promoting STEM education (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in the K-12 curriculum.
Skilled craft labor is an essential outcome of STEM education, particularly for projects being planned and executed by construction owners. Corley explains that while most of Shell’s construction-related needs are taken care of by the contractors working for Shell, skilled craft labor is still a very important segment of their employee population.
So not having the right trades with the right skill set at the right time is detrimental to any construction project. Corley explains that, “this is especially the case given Shell’s specialized refineries and chemical facilities, as well as the company’s pipeline related activities.”
Preparation is the key. In anticipation of several potential major projects and while looking for labor supply and demand information Corley came across the Construction Labor Market Analyzer® (CLMA®). Corley explains, “From a strategic perspective, the CLMA® has been a useful tool in understanding the overall competitive environment and in anticipating some of the labor challenges certain potential projects may face. It has also been useful as we contemplate potential actions to mitigate labor related challenges, including workforce development initiatives, labor sourcing and, to a lesser extent, even project timing.”
While Corley jokes that from a competitive perspective, she doesn’t like revealing how helpful this labor forecasting tool has been, on a serious note, “The CLMA® is an excellent starting point for deeper specific analysis on a project level basis. It provides an excellent regional storyline for action and for educating on regional labor issues.”
The data is also used to “level set” conversations with contractors about how they will provide sufficient skilled crafts for work they will do for Shell.
Shell’s production of over three million barrels of oil every day, as well as the company’s significant petrochemical and refining businesses, depends on this level of meticulous planning. Having access to a tool that tells a region’s labor story is an important piece of that preparation puzzle.
The CLMA® is designed to help owners, contractors, unions and other industry stakeholders dynamically understand the skilled labor market in a collaborative environment and more effectively know how to employ risk mitigation strategies.