Sunday 04 December 2022

Old fossils no longer attractive to new generation of engineers

Photo: Shell

Shell is no longer the employer of choice for young highly-skilled engineering students. Rather than working for a company that still concentrates on fossil fuels the students are increasingly turning to sustainable companies, the Financieele Dagblad said on Tuesday.

The paper bases its claim on interviews with students and head hunters.

‘We are seeing that companies like Shell are having problems recruiting. Many graduates from Delft University no longer want to commit to this sort of company because they wouldn’t be contributing to a cleaner, more sustainable world,’ director of head hunters Page Group Nederland Joost Fortuin told the paper.

A poll among engineering students by research bureau Universum shows that Shell has fallen from third to seventh place on the list of popular employers over two years. Number one is the ‘green’ car manufacturer Tesla.

‘We have to be oil and gas free by 2050 but I wonder if Shell realises what this entails,’ engineering graduate Michiel Bots told the paper. ‘The company is slowing down the transition process instead of promoting it and that makes it a less interesting employer for me.’ Bots, who graduated with honours, is now a trainee at the Dutch Association for Sustainable Energy.

Fortuin says engineering graduates are scarce as it is and Shell is struggling to recruit. Although Shell is expecting students will come back to Shell once they become familiar with ‘ambitions, innovations and work culture’ Fortuin thinks the change is structural. ‘Shell no longer interview candidates for the job, the candidates are interviewing Shell,’ he told the paper.

Efforts by Shell to convince young engineers that the company is serious about transition don’t convince Bots. ‘We grew up with the climate problem. Perhaps the older generation is still getting used to it,’ he told FD.

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