A Technical Committee of the OPEC and 11 non-members are meeting today in Abu Dhabi to as put by the Emirates News Agency http://wam.ae/en/details/1395302626261. They identify ways and means of raising levels of conformity. obviously review and discuss possibilities to reinforce their year old decision to pursue and potentially overhaul their production cut so as to possibly reach their goal of price sustenance if not increase. Meanwhile, a US shale oil surge and the recent crisis among the world’s greatest oil producer countries are certainly not helping the cartel’s future. In Qatar, everyday life because of this crisis is turning sour by the day as witnessed by hundreds of migrant workers. This article on how Qatari companies send workers on unpaid extended leave in order to maintain their businesses alive whilst the Gulf crisis drags on.
Employees in these sectors have been asked to go on unpaid ‘long leave’ for two to three months, in addition to their standard 30 days of paid annual leave.
Some popular five-star hotels have asked several employees to take additional leave due to lack of business. Although official figures estimate 61% hotel occupancy, employees claim a far lower rate.
“Six restaurants in our hotel has been closed. We have more than 550 rooms but only a few are occupied now. Most of our restaurant staff and others have been sent on long leave. It’s in addition to the entitled annual leave. Some are sent on three months, others on four months of extra leave. But they won’t pay for this additional leave. Although they assure us, we are not sure if will be called back to work or the hotel will extend the leave,” said Leela, an employee of a five-star hotel. She is the breadwinner for her family back home in Sri Lanka and fears the new uncertainty in her job.
“My annual leave will be due in another two months. If the situation continues it will affect me as well. Our salary is only QR 3000. I can’t imagine being without a salary for three months,” she added.
Sarah, another hotel employee working as a kitchen aide said, “initially the hotel management asked which of us wishes to go on six months unpaid leave, due to lack of guests. Then later they told some employees to take three months extra leave in addition to our annual leave. Many have been sent on at least two months of unpaid leave.”
As the majority of construction materials are imported from neighbouring countries or brought in by land through those borders, this sector has also slowed down and some employees currently on annual leave have been asked to not come back for another two months.
“There are some materials in stock, but they’ll run out soon. It will take at least six months to bring materials from other countries and to find alternative routes. Some of our staff on annual leave have been asked to not return for a couple of months,” according to a quantity surveyor at a construction company.
Similarly, employees of some shipping agents have been asked to take at least four months unpaid leave due to lack of work. Their children and spouses have also had to leave the country. Most shipping and clearance agents work closely with their sister companies in neighbouring GCC countries.
“I’m given four months unpaid leave. My wife is not working so we can’t manage if I’m not paid. I have two children studying here. So we decided to go home and enrol our children at schools there. I will come back if things return to normal and if my employer decides to keep me on the job,” said Satish, an Indian expatriate working for a shipping and clearance agent.
Further to our Demand May Top Out Before Supply Does, here is an interesting article on the side-lines of one of the Oil Industry’s main concerns as elaborated on this report of the IBT on the recently held 22nd World Petroleum Congress – Istanbul, 2017 where it was a question of how age and gender could obviously affect the industry to survive this wave of fossil fuel dislike amongst the young. The unleashing of a frenzy amongst today’s youth as Fossil Free is a growing international divestment movement calling for organisations, institutions and individuals to demonstrate climate leadership and end their financial support for the fossil fuel industry.
It may not be as pressing an issue for the World Petroleum Congress (WPC) as the crude oil price slump, but had you asked around the oil and gas industry’s recently concluded triennial jamboree held in Istanbul, Turkey, plenty of high profile people would point to a lack of female executives as a major concern.
Furthermore, equally concerning is the perceived loss of the industry’s appeal for young professionals choosing a career pathway. To his credit, Dr Jozsef Toth, President of World Petroleum Council, which has been organising the congress since 1933, acknowledged the problem in his very first quip of the event.
“Oil and gas will play a role in the energy mix for decades to come. Yet, at the same time the number of people joining the energy industry is declining.”
Much more needs to be done when it comes addressing the gender balance in the business, he added. “We are committed to changing this, as well as showcasing the talent of female industry executives to inspire.”
That’s all well and good; but a cursory look around the WPC plenary halls, auditoriums and corridors by your correspondent found an overwhelming number of delegates of the male and middle-aged variety, regardless of which country they were travelling from.
Of course, there was a young professionals’ floor and youth congress, and events such as a youth night and a ‘Women in Energy’ breakfast.
Despite being well-intentioned objectives aimed at promoting dialogue, to many participants interviewed by IBTimes UK they seemed to be perfunctory box-ticking exercises being conducted because a mega industry event of the WPC’s size could not possibly, not have them. The previous Congress in Doha (2011) and Moscow (2014) had the very same events.
Hope is that the hard work in attracting young recruits and tackling the gender imbalance will finally begin in earnest once WPC’s 6,000-odd delegates, 500 CEOs, 50 Ministers and heads of state go home and ponder about it.
For that to happen, it is worth getting a deeper understanding of the problem first, according to Deborah Byers, US Oil & Gas Practice leader at global consultancy EY. A recent polling exercise in the US by Byers’ colleagues found that most of the younger generation perceive oil and gas jobs as a bit too blue collar and dangerous.
“That’s generation Z – or post-Millennials – typically born in the mid-1990s to early 2000s to you and me. We also find a disconnect between what oil and gas executives think young people want from a career and what they actually want. There’s a general lack of awareness about the industry and the careers that power it, and a substantial gender gap.”
When EY asked which three considerations are the most important in selecting a future career, both Millennials and Generation Z, as a whole, prioritised salary (56%), good work-life balance (49%), job stability (37%) and on-the-job happiness (37%).”
However, oil and gas executives polled expected the leading career drivers for young people to be salary (72%), technology (43%), good work-life balance (38%), and the opportunity to try new roles (28%). The study also found that only 24% of women in the 16-35 age group find oil and gas jobs appealing, while 54% of men in the same age range find them appealing.
The findings were based on a survey of 1,204 US consumers and 109 industry executives conducted earlier this year. In the wider scheme of things, the consultancy’s findings offer only a glimpse into the thinking of female and young people hunting career prospects. However, what it also does is flag up the enormity of the task ahead.
“In an era of lower for longer, some say lower forever oil prices, the industry has a call to action to solve this perception problem for the sake of their future workforce and their success,” Byers concludes.
Dr Jozsef Toth, President of World Petroleum Council, says the industry must improve its appeal to younger recruits and female aspirants.Gaurav Sharma / IB Times UK
Paradoxically, Eithne Treanor, a seasoned energy sector broadcaster and conference moderator based in Dubai, feels it’s the low price environment that is putting people off.
“Oil and gas companies aren’t in hiring mode in any case to begin with, as opportunities from geology to engineering, management to on-site operations dwindle. Furthermore, young people and suitable female candidates ask themselves should I really choose a future in an industry that’s in decline or at least appears to be.”
While the oil price environment is a relatively recent development, Treanor said the industry’s problem of attracting fewer qualified female professionals and its lack of appeal to youngsters also has to do with historical reputational problems.
“The industry has been quite poor at engaging with young people, something I feel it is attempting to rectify. When the idea is to catch them young, leaving it till they are at university is a bit too late; I’d say go all the way lower to junior school.
“For example – a programme started by a science professor in Lebanon called ‘The Young Engineer’ has been running for 10 years and piques the interest of kids when they are 5-6 years old.”
Specifically on the subject of attracting female talent, Trainer said: “Look around the WPC, majority of the panel discussions and deliberations have mostly male speakers. The lack of diversity is visible. Some women have risen through the industry ranks and have become role models, and are indeed here, but there are not that many.”
Positive discrimination is needed, she added, including perhaps an introduction of the Norwegian model of mandatory quotas for women to be on corporate boards and in positions of authority.
Time is running out, and the industry needs to act fast, according Aleek Datta, Managing Director at consultancy Accenture.
“In 2011, around $590bn (£455bn) was spent on petrotechnical workforce development, which rose to a commendable $760bn in 2014. However, oil price slump hit and spending on talent fell to $570bn in 2015, and has been in decline ever since.
“If we assume oil demand will increase, yet spending on talent continues at its current level, the global industry will have 30% deficit of petrotechnical professionals as early as 2020.
“The oil and gas industry is losing the fight for top millennial talent, as young professionals prefer other industries, like the technology industry. Only 2% of US graduates, according our research, consider oil and gas as a primary career choice.”
To some it might seem counterintuitive to invest in attracting and training young professionals and wooing more women to the industry when the oil price is down, but the risk of not doing so could be even more dire.
As put by Bloomberg in an article by Jeanna Smialek dated April 10, 2015 where she said: ” Get ready for a new economic order by 2030 / 2050. In the world 15 years from now, the U.S. will be far less dominant, several emerging markets will catapult into prominence, and some of the largest European economies will be slipping behind.”
A new economic order by 2030 / 2050 ?
Last week an article on the same subject and written by Lianna Brinded, Markets Editor, Business Insider and published in collaboration with Business Insider on Thursday 9 February 2017 by the WEF goes like below.
A prediction: the world’s most powerful economies in 2030
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), one of the world’s largest professional-services firms, just released its predictions for the most powerful economies in the world by 2030.
The report, titled “The long view: how will the global economic order change by 2050?” ranked 32 countries by their projected global gross domestic product by purchasing power parity (PPP).
PPP is used by macroeconomists to determine the economic productivity and standards of living among countries across a certain time period.
While PwC’s findings show some of the same countries right near the top of the list in 13 years, they also have numerous economies slipping or rising massively by 2030 [ . . . ]
The PwC Report Key findings
This report sets out our latest long-term global growth projections to 2050 for 32 of the largest economies in the world, accounting for around 85% of world GDP.
Key results of our analysis (as summarised also in the accompanying video) include:
The world economy could more than double in size by 2050, far outstripping population growth, due to continued technology-driven productivity improvements
Emerging markets (E7) could grow around twice as fast as advanced economies (G7) on average
As a result, six of the seven largest economies in the world are projected to be emerging economies in 2050 led by China (1st), India (2nd) and Indonesia (4th)
The US could be down to third place in the global GDP rankings while the EU27’s share of world GDP could fall below 10% by 2050
UK could be down to 10th place by 2050, France out of the top 10 and Italy out of the top 20 as they are overtaken by faster growing emerging economies like Mexico, Turkey and Vietnam respectively
But emerging economies need to enhance their institutions and their infrastructure significantly if they are to realise their long-term growth potential.
As we head into 2017, and further to our previous contribution Leadership Priorities in Year 2017we would like to give this opportunity to our readers to go through this article written by Rawan Al-Butairi, Financial analyst of Saudi Aramco and published on Monday 2 January 2017 on the WEF website. The author questions leaderships attributes but within the specific Arab context of the MENA countries. Experience tells us that practitioners love to see what is happening in their domain and for one reason or another do generalise it to all by asserting that Real leaders need to make globalization work for all .
A young person could almost be forgiven for feeling despair and hopelessness today. Everywhere they look, there is escalating inequality and a lack of opportunity.
In certain regions and countries, the problem is more acute; from hyperinflation and a collapsed economy in Venezuela to an Arab Spring in Egypt which toppled a government but ultimately has yet to improve the lives of ordinary Egyptians. In fact, with a recently de-pegged currency and an IMF bailout, it will ostensibly get much worse there before it starts to get better.
At the time, many pundits argued that the 2011 Arab Spring was about people in the region demanding greater democracy and liberal freedom. However, I think this misses the heart of the problem. At that time, Egypt was still suffering from the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, with important industries such as tourism still far from recovery. Moreover, large increases in food and raw material prices caused a huge trade imbalance (Egypt- as well as Venezuala – is a significant net importer of food).
With the rising cost of food, an unsustainable trade imbalance leading to unaffordable domestic subsidy programs, an overly concentrated economic model susceptible to crippling exogenous shocks, and a growing population to “feed”, the situation mirrored the predictable fall of a neatly stacked set of domino chips. These countries simply ran out of room and ran out of time to modernize their economies to provide opportunities for their growing young population.
Leaders fell back on the status quo, too afraid, too self-interested, or too corrupt to make the difficult trade-off decisions to fix the numerous structural imbalances. These were tragic and epic failures.
In this context, what does responsible leadership mean? While it is tempting to provide the never incorrect “it depends” answer, I believe there are two universal and key themes.
First, globalization, like capitalism, must be effectively managed to be more inclusive. Globalization leads to a bigger overall pie, but responsible leaders must find ways to distribute that pie to more people. Conversely, protectionism and populism to me is just Neo-Luddism, a misguided and ultimately futile tilting against windmills which will only lead to a smaller pie for everyone.
With technological advancement and the oft-touted “knowledge economy” naturally favoring a small group of the highly skilled, government and the private sector can and must do more to even the playing field, including potentially higher minimum wage laws or progressive taxation to fund more targeted and effective social programs. These programs must be financially sustainable, free of corruption, and efficiently enacted.
At a community level, responsible leadership must encourage more volunteerism and gifting – of not just money, but time, knowledge, and mentoring those with less opportunity – and these individuals and institutions must personally lead by example. The leaders and workers of tomorrow need to understand the impact of globalization, both its benefits and its implications, so that workers are motivated to develop competitive skills in an increasingly global and interconnected economy. Inevitably, there will be groups who will be marginalized and unable or unwilling to adapt to this future, and the social programs will need to be creatively designed to reach and help these people.
Second, responsible leaders must have deep social capital, particularly “bridging social capital”. According to Robert Putnam, a political scientist and Harvard Kennedy School of Government professor, bridging social capital builds key networks between different social groups. It allows people from different socio-economic backgrounds, genders, ethnicities and cultures to share and exchange ideas and build consensus among groups with diverse interests.
Responsible leaders must develop empathy and solidarity with all people they serve, so that they will forge collective benefits that enlarge the pie for everyone. Again, volunteerism and community engagement are crucial. Unfortunately, with social media and an overabundance of choice, people are easily conditioned to only seek out interactions with people they “like” or to “friend” people of similar views or backgrounds. This is the exact opposite of the desired outcome, and can lead to irresponsible leaders with low social capital, and low empathy, who see the world as a fixed pie that must be divided up with the largest slice going to themselves and people like them. The future of the world, particularly the one that the young will inherit, must be defined by what we share, not our superficial differences.
So what, again, is a responsible leader?
In summary, a responsible leader to me is person who has abundant social capital, an intrinsic desire to maximize the economic pie to create opportunities for everyone, someone who is able to effectively manage globalization, and looks to build bridges instead of walls. He or she will enable hope to once again flourish within the sea of hopelessness, and turn despair into optimism.
About this article: Rawan Al-Butairi is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper. Her article is one of the short-listed entries in the 2016 Global Shaper essay competition on the theme of responsive and responsible leadership.
As of the Wikipedia, the Global Gender Gap Report was first published in 2006 by the World Economic Forum. Its Gap Index is designed to measure gender equality status of 144 countries as based on economic participation and opportunity, education attainment, health and survival and political participation. This year’s edition saw the MENA region close its overall gender gap by more than 60% but it continued unsurprisingly to rank last globally in the overall index.
The best performers in the region however were Qatar at 119th and Algeria at 120th, the UAE coming close behind at 124th and Saudi Arabia as expected at the rear of the line at 141st . According to several GCC’s online media, the Gulf economies were the worst performing in the high income group in this year’s index. Gulf Business, for instance, reviewed the WEF report’s proposed ranking of these countries and concluded that several Gulf nations improved their gender equality in this year’s rankings, but still remained in the bottom half of the table.
Globally, the “Top Ten” consist as expected of the Scandinavian countries leading the pack together with few exceptions such as Rwanda, Ireland, the Philippines, Slovenia and New Zealand. We excerpted few paragraphs and an interactive world map of the report and reproduced here for purposes of mouth-watering our readers to go the original WEF site and make it into a good weekend read of the whole report.
Talent and technology together will determine how the Fourth Industrial Revolution can be harnessed to deliver sustainable economic growth and innumerable benefits to society. Yet if half of the world’s talent is not integrated—as both beneficiary and shaper—into the transformations underway, we will compromise innovation and risk a rise in inequality. This urgency is at the core of a fresh call to action to accelerate progress towards gender equality, adding to the well-established economic case for gender equality. Moreover, there is a fundamental moral case for empowering women: women represent one half of the global population and it is self-evident that they must have equal access to health, education, earning power and political representation.
Through the Global Gender Gap Report, the World Economic Forum quantifies the magnitude of gender-based disparities and tracks their progress over time. While no single measure can capture the complete situation, the Global Gender Gap Index presented in this Report seeks to measure one important aspect of gender equality—the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas: health, education, economy and politics. The Index was developed in part to address the need for a consistent and comprehensive measure for gender equality that can track a country’s progress over time. More than a decade of data has revealed that progress is still too slow for realizing the full potential of one half of humanity within our lifetimes.
The Index does not seek to provide a comprehensive set of data and a clear method for tracking gaps on critical indicators so that countries may set priorities within their own economic, political and cultural contexts. It points to potential role models by revealing those countries that—within their region or income group—are leaders in distributing resources more equitably between women and men, regardless of the overall level of available resources.
Change does not start through revolutions in streets. It starts in people’s minds . . .
Khadija Hamouchi, a social entrepreneur, is founder of SEJAAL, an initiative that is developing a free learning App for MENA’s youth. She has received six international awards, including Stanford Business and Innovation Fellow, Morocco’s African Entrepreneurship Award and San Francisco’s Parisoma Accelerator Programme.
In a piece for the TheArabWeekly of October 2nd, 2016, Khadija describes her views on education in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) region. For her, the region needs its “education empire” in its own right.
Khadija continues: “It also needs its social network and its Mark Zuckerberg. The MENA region needs to exercise as much influence as it does receive itself. It needs to start leading again, too. Just like what we used to do through innovation, knowledge development and cultural deployment centuries ago. I like to think it was not that long ago.”
Instead of waiting for some miracle to happen, I am building a free web-based application, a learning content sharing service for young people in the region. I allow myself to dream big. I aspire to go worldwide — breaching borders and designing the future of learning engagement. This is not pretention, it is ambition.
I believe learning for all transforms societies systemically. I believe everyone deserves a chance to learn. I believe in a quality education, accessible to all. I believe individual engagement in learning creates social cohesion. I believe it can and must be done. It must be achieved if our societies are to thrive through innovation, economic redistribution and social cohesion.
We owe it to our young people. The very ones who found themselves with invaluable talent and capabilities but without even a window of opportunity, let alone a door. And we also owe it to the ones who found themselves contemplating their futures without hope.
How do we get this new paradigm off the ground?
Change does not start through revolutions in the streets. It starts in people’s minds. Modernity does not come about by welcoming fast-food chains into a country. It happens by embracing new habits of thoughts. Advancement does not happen by investing in fancy buildings. It is reaped through nurturing the talent and potential.
We need to leave a certain number of thinking patterns, not people, behind. We should accept the idea of failure, which is only but a symptom of success. Pure perfection does not exist. Perfection is a state of moving forward constantly. We need to let go of autocratic selfishness, which has silently but dangerously killed our people. We need to communicate openly and throw the sometimes needless culture of secrecy away.
Today MENA is being transformed through entrepreneurship. On that note, I believe any venture in the region should look beyond solving people problems and to disrupt the status quo. Ventures should empower people through free choices as well as exposure to ideas, realities and landscapes.
It is this philosophy that underpins SEJAAL, an app that supports people aged 18-30 to share learning content with their followers from existing platforms that we select for relevance and quality. Our members will have the ability to post infographics, videos, articles, e-learning courses, podcasts and other multimedia content on SEJAAL. They will have the ability to save that learning content on personalised boards as well as select themes that interest them because we believe in empowering people.
They will be able to share their thoughts and ask questions of the wider community of learners. That is how social learning takes place. Our editorial line will curate content on personal and professional development as well as the humanities, to regenerate societies with new energy and aspiration. We are building a prototype to submit to students in the region so they can create human-centred design solutions for and by people. We expect to have a beta version by June 2017.
I find it important to emphasise that modernity does not mean rejecting our culinary, musical, historical, folkloric or clothing traditions. It means making the decisions that serve the whole community. This can happen by understanding the strengths of respective national history as well as crafting an inclusive vision that covers ethnic differences, languages and faith.
The good news in all of this: We do not necessarily need money. We need attitude, mindset and will. These are free. They do not cost anything. Their currency is love for the community.”