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The Need for Speed: Recruiting Energy Workforce’s Next Generation

By Energy Workforce President Molly Determan

speed
Energy Workforce President Molly Determan

What does the need for speed, mystical castles, frozen towns and cyber cities have to do with the next generation of the energy workforce? Surprisingly, a lot more than most would think!

Recently, Shell announced a sponsorship of the popular video game Fortnite, traditionally known as a “save-the-world” game involving fighting off zombie-like creatures. The game has a creative mode where players can create their own buildings and play mini-games.

Shell has sponsored the mini-game “Shell Ultimate Road Trips,” promoting Shell’s V-Power NiTRO+ Premium Gasoline, taking players on a high-speed road trip across six different terrains. Fortnite is constantly evolving and has garnered a massive social media following, to which many attribute the game’s 80 million active monthly users. With more than 60% of players aged between 18-24, Shell is not only advertising its products but reaching potential workforce-aged individuals who are at a pivotal point in their educational journeys.

We’ve long known that targeted advertising works, but how do we convert that advertising into fueling the workforce of tomorrow? Well, it starts by doing precisely what Shell is accomplishing: putting our brands in front of the next generation.

As Gen Z becomes the next target for workforce recruitment, we must meet them where they are, on the platforms they value most. Think about it: while Baby Boomers and Generation X might have once been inclined to pick up a newspaper to search the classifieds for a job posting, that concept is entirely foreign to Millennials and Gen Z. With the emergence of TikTok and Snapchat as prominent platforms capturing Gen Z’s attention, highly creative videos and short snappy content generate more engagement than traditional methods of the past.

As we seek to recruit the next generation of skilled labor, we must show that our industry is on the cutting edge of the technological revolution, engaging with potential employees on the platforms they have become accustomed to.

While Shell’s video game partnership may be a cutting-edge marketing idea, it’s something that resonates with the energy workforce of tomorrow. It embraces their need for creativity and inserts a real-life application into an otherwise escapist game.

As an industry, we are accustomed to changing dynamics and recruiting talent despite the obstacles that we face. Thinking outside of the box will be a critical element in our recruitment, as we scout the next generation of energy talent and work to demonstrate we are a growing industry that is not only powering the economy of today but driving the future of tomorrow. After all, the need for speed transcends generations.


Molly Determan is President of Energy Workforce & Technology Council. Click here to subscribe to the Energy Workforce newsletter, which highlights sector-specific issues, best practices, activities and more.
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