Oil and gas industry must address digital skill gaps to thrive in the future

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By Mitch Fane and Rachel Everaard



A new technology skill every worker needs to be more valuable: Former Goldman Sachs CFO

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  • Former Goldman Sachs CFO and CIO Martin Chavez says all workers in the future should be prepared to learn some form of coding. 
  • LinkedIn data shows that there’s been a recent boom in users taking introductory coding courses online, with increases as high as 500% in the past year.
  • But the Wall Street executive recently told CNBC that for most workers the key is to learn an algorithmic, problem-solving way of thinking, rather than becoming an actual computer coder. 

Wall Street won’t be ruled by code, but algos will guide career choices: Former Goldman CFO

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Martin Chavez served in more than one major role during his Goldman Sachs career, including chief financial officer and chief information officer, and those experiences were prime opportunities for the self-described “quant” to learn a valuable lesson about the future of work and technology. 

Wall Street will not be run by computer code alone, he says, but the rise of algorithms in financial services is a lesson in why most workers will need to become familiar with computer code if they want to be valuable to their organizations.

“Not everyone needs to be a coder,” Chavez said. “The idea of coding is valuable and wonderful, but the idea everyone should learn to code? … I don’t know, but everyone does need to have an algorithmic data, problem-solving mindset. That is a baseline skill for every professional in the workplace, no matter what the role is,” the former Goldman Sachs top executive said at a recent CNBC @Work virtual event.

The history of Wall Street compliance departments was one of the early examples from which Chavez learned about the merging of the traditional white-collar professional and techie. Once compliance was run by staffers with all legal and regulatory backgrounds, but

A new tech skill all workers need to be valuable: Former Goldman CFO

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Martin Chavez served in more than one major role during his Goldman Sachs career, including chief financial officer and chief information officer, and those experiences were prime opportunities for the self-described “quant” to learn a valuable lesson about the future of work and technology. 

Wall Street will not be run by computer code alone, he says, but the rise of algorithms in financial services is a lesson in why most workers will need to become familiar with computer code if they want to be valuable to their organizations.

“Not everyone needs to be a coder,” Chavez said. “The idea of coding is valuable and wonderful, but the idea everyone should learn to code? … I don’t know, but everyone does need to have an algorithmic data, problem-solving mindset. That is a baseline skill for every professional in the workplace, no matter what the role is,” the former Goldman Sachs top executive said at a recent CNBC @Work virtual event.

The history of Wall Street compliance departments was one of the early examples from which Chavez learned about the merging of the traditional white-collar professional and techie. Once compliance was run by staffers with all legal and regulatory backgrounds, but as algorithms and trading algos, specifically, became part of what Wall Street firms relied on, Goldman discovered that it needed professionals who could assess whether code was in compliance with laws and regulations.

The bank built a compliance organization at the intersection of computer science and law.

“When people would ask me what to study, I would say a winning combination is comp sci and a law degree, and you will be busy for a long time,” Chavez said.

A trader has lunch in front of computers screens.

Eric Piermont | AFP | Getty Images

Eventually it spread beyond compliance at

Impact of COVID-19 increases urgency of digital technology investments for oil and gas; skill gaps within the workforce hinder ROI

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HOUSTON, Sept. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Ninety percent of oil and gas executives agree that investment in technology and workforce are essential to surviving current market conditions, according to a new EY survey: Oil and Gas Digital Transformation and the Workforce Survey 2020. In fact, 58% said the COVID-19 pandemic has made investing in digital technology more urgent, with a majority planning to invest a great deal (29%) or moderate amount (51%) relative to their total budget.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the timeline for some digital technology adoption from five years to three months,” said Andy Brogan, EY Global Oil & Gas Leader. “The cost savings digital can deliver is critical for survival in today’s low-price environment, as oil and gas companies look to gain greater operational efficiencies and drive productivity across the value chain. However, to capture the full value of these investments, oil and gas companies need the skills to harness and use the technology to its maximum potential.”

Technology does not use itself, addressing skill gaps linked to future success

According to the survey, nearly half (46%) of companies, on average, do not have the skills within their current workforce to realize the investment on their adopted technologies. Companies recognize a lack of maturity in many skills around digital technologies they have deemed as critical — on average, the gap between importance and maturity is 36%. For instance, the increasing availability of data analytics and insights was cited by 43% of executives as one of the top three trends that will positively impact their company’s business growth in the next three years. Yet, the gap between strategic importance and maturity of key skills was one of the widest on data analytics at 59%.

“The sector is now in a critical period in which the