Forty-two Percent of the Oil and Gas Industry’s Deskless Workers Viewed as Expendable

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Forty-two percent of deskless workers in the oil and gas industry say they’re viewed as expendable by their employer. Plus, almost a third (29 per cent), feel that their corporate, desk-based colleagues regard them as inferior.  These are the findings from O.C. Tanner’s 2024 Global Culture Report which gathered data and insights from more than 42,000 employees, leaders, HR practitioners, and executives from 27 countries worldwide including 241 from the oil and gas industry (of which 41 percent are deskless).

Deskless workers comprise 80 percent of the Global workforce and include offline and essential workers, such as offshore drilling workers, who traditionally work away from a desk. However, despite their crucial roles, the Report highlights that many deskless workers are feeling dispensable and sidelined.

“It was not long ago we were clapping the efforts of essential workers during the pandemic, but many are now feeling unloved and that their contributions don’t matter”, says Stuart Cheesman, European Strategist of workplace culture expert, O.C. Tanner.

More than a quarter of deskless workers within the oil and gas industry (26 percent) admit they are often talked down to by people in the corporate office. They also feel that senior leadership don’t take them seriously and that their ideas are quickly minimized or dismissed.

“Undermining and diminishing the roles of deskless workers is not only morally wrong, but isn’t good for business” says Cheesman. “When deskless workers are made to feel expendable, they are unlikely to stick around and deliver their best work. In contrast, when they feel seen and appreciated by their organizations, the business outcomes are significant including improved staff retention and performance.”

The Report recommends educating leaders on how to effectively appreciate and recognize their deskless workers. This includes the messages leaders want to communicate to them, how they can create meaningful and authentic recognition experiences, and how they can nurture a strong sense of belonging for all.

When deskless workers are understood by their leaders, including how they prefer to be recognized and appreciated, there’s a 350 percent greater chance they’ll choose to stay with their employer another year. They are also 378 percent more likely to deliver great work and 258 percent more likely to feel a sense of fulfilment in their jobs.

Cheesman adds, “Leaders can’t afford to neglect their deskless workers who are essential to their success. They must ensure that all their people are regularly appreciated and respected for the jobs they do and the contributions they make. Doing so will nurture a compassionate and appreciative culture that ultimately delivers compelling bottom-line results.”

About 2024 Global Culture Report

The O.C. Tanner Institute, O.C. Tanner’s research, analytics, and education team, uses multiple research methods to support the Global Culture Report, including interviews, focus groups, cross-sectional surveys, and a longitudinal survey.

Qualitative findings came from 18 focus groups among employees and leaders of larger organizations. The groups and interviews represent various types of employers, including both private and public entities.

Quantitative findings came from online survey interviews administered to employees across Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The total sample size was 42,446 workers at companies with 500+ employees. The O.C. Tanner Institute collected and analyzed all survey data. This sample is sufficient to generate meaningful conclusions about the cultures of organizations in the included countries. However, because the study does not include population data, results are subject to statistical errors customarily associated with sample-based information. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from the O.C. Tanner Institute.

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