Saudi Aramco boss: skills shortage holding back industry growth

Video: Khalid al-Falih says at Davos there is a ‘mismatch’ between unemployment and the lack of qualified workers

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The head of Saudi Aramco says a skills shortage is holding back growth in the energy industry, pointing to a mismatch between unemployment and the lack of qualified workers.

Khalid al-Falih, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Saudi Aramco, was speaking during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.

He said the problem was widespread in the oil and gas industry.

“Here is an industry that is growing, that is very profitable... and more often than not companies in our industry are constrained by growth because of a lack of skilled human resources, while they are living or working in countries where there is high unemployment,” he said. “The issue of a mismatch... is real.”

Al-Falih added that this situation also posed an opportunity, pointing to his company’s efforts to fund vocational training centers to bring in highly skilled trainers.

The Davos panel saw global leaders call for a collective approach to youth unemployment.

The potential upside of better incorporating youth into the economy is enormous, said Robert Greenhill, the Managing Director of the World Economic Forum, who chaired the Davos panel.

For every percentage point increase in youth unemployment, $72 billion is added to global consumption, according to figures quoted by the WEF.

The other speakers on the Davos panel were Muhtar A. Kent, Chief Executive Officer of the The Coca-Cola Company; Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO); Maria Fanjul, Chief Executive Officer of in Spain; and Klaus Kleinfeld, Chief Executive Officer of Alcoa.

Watch the video of the Davos panel below.