We seek to provide a workplace that celebrates diversity, supports learning and development and drives high performance.

Oil Search’s approach to employee engagement and empowerment is guided by one of the Company’s strategic objectives: to enhance our organisational capability to deliver. We work to create an environment for our employees that enables them to do their best within high-performing and diverse teams.

We also seek to provide a workplace that celebrates diversity and creates opportunities for learning and growth. Employees receive valuable opportunities to gain experience, skills and vocational qualifications, and this investment enables us to attract and retain a high-performing team to achieve our business and growth objectives.

For more detail about Oil Search’s approach to engaging and empowering our employees, see our website.

Building organisational competency and capacity

Employee development was a key focus for Oil Search in 2018, with several initiatives underway to develop workforce capability, foster employee engagement and manage our pipeline of people with the capability to move into leadership roles.

Oil Search conducted the Company’s first employee engagement survey in 2017 to establish a baseline understanding of engagement across a range of measures and explore perceptions of inclusion and belonging at work. The results from this survey were overlaid with the Company’s 2020 Employee Development Strategy to prioritise areas of focus in 2018.

Leadership development programmes

Oil Search’s leaders have a significant impact and influence on the workforce. During the year, we expanded the Company’s leadership development curriculum in support of our goal to build a highly capable, committed and diverse workforce.

We introduced the Coaching Our Way programme, which aims to equip leaders to create an engaging work environment, making people feel valued and fostering employee development. Fifteen Coaching Our Way workshops were held during the year for 161 senior managers, managers, and supervisors in Sydney and Port Moresby. The programme will extend to Alaska and the PNG field in 2019.

Several leadership development programmes are also in place to build leadership capacity throughout the organisation and improve our pipeline of talent across different organisational levels. These include the:

  • Graduate Development Programme.
  • Accelerated Development Programme - our flagship offering for high potential employees.
  • Senior Leader Development Process.
  • Targeted diversity and inclusion initiatives, including the Leading Our Way for Women programme and the Citizen Development Programme.

The Senior Leader Development Process was introduced in 2018 to build a highly capable, committed and diverse leadership group that is well-equipped to execute Oil Search’s Business Strategy. It enables General Managers and senior functional leaders expand their leadership capability by engaging in different development pathways within the Company. Six participants were selected across Port Moresby, Sydney and Anchorage, and the programme will be extended in 2019. The process includes a rigorous upfront assessment and individual development strategies deployed over 12 months ranging from executive education, to coaching, mentoring, and involvement in business projects.

Performance and development refresh

In 2018, we conducted a performance and development refresh to enhance employee engagement through more constructive and frequent conversations and planning. The refreshed process will be implemented in 2019 enabled by a new HR Information System and a comprehensive launch strategy that includes employee and leader workshops.

Recognition Guidelines

Oil Search developed and implemented Recognition Guidelines in 2018. The aim was to support and encourage managers to recognise (formally and informally) their team members more frequently, and ensure formal recognition is delivered in a proportionate and consistent way. The Guidelines clarify when and how we recognise people at Oil Search and provide guidance on ensuring recognition is authentic, meaningful and motivating. These were used extensively during the year to provide meaningful recognition to employees and contractors who led and participated in Oil Search’s response to the devasting earthquake.

Developing our talent pipeline

We continue to invest in and improve the depth and diversity of talent across the Company through our extensive leadership development curriculum. Our annual Talent and Succession Review, which was completed between July and September 2018, assessed 192 critical roles for succession, with the following results:

  • 86 employees were evaluated as being high potential (i.e. capable of progressing to leadership or executive levels).
  • 15 individuals were assessed as successor candidates to Executive General Manager roles.
  • 44% of individuals on succession plans were PNG citizens and 31% were female

Focusing on diversity and inclusion

Focusing on diversity and inclusion 2

Having a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the areas where we operate strengthens Oil Search’s capability and resilience. We aim to provide an equal opportunity work environment that is free from harassment and promotes decision-making that is free of discrimination.

In 2018, Oil Search remained focused on improving diversity through our 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, which addresses gender diversity, PNG citizen development and an inclusive workplace.

We improved our Board’s gender diversity with the addition of a new female director, increasing the percentage of women directors from 25% in 2017 to 33% in 2018.

The percentage of females in senior management increased from 22% in 2017 to 23% in 2018. We aim to further increase this through programmes and actions identified as part of our 2020 Strategy. We are also working to address the gap in women pursuing technical roles across all levels of the organisation through initiatives such as scholarships to support careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). In our Graduate Development Programme, we increased the percentage of female graduates from 36% in the 2017 intake to 46% in 2018.

Oil Search’s Leading Our Way for Women programme continued in 2018 for 17 participants across the organisation to support the development of a pipeline of female leaders. Participants benefited from an intensive development experience, with their managers also involved to promote greater understanding and empathy for the various development barriers women face and how best to address them. Since completing the programme, five participants have been promoted and another three have had the opportunity to change roles within the business.

As part of our 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, Oil Search measures progress against an inclusion index derived from the results of our 2017 employee engagement survey. While a 2017 baseline has been established, progress will be reported once the results of our next employee engagement survey have been reviewed.

An organisation-wide employee engagement plan has been implemented to promote an inclusive and positive work environment, with initiatives focused on:

  • Enabling managers to create a safe and trusting environment where people feel valued and can work to their potential.
  • Equipping managers through the Coaching Our Way programme to have engaging conversations and bring out the best in their staff.
  • Recognition Guidelines that support more frequent and consistent manager recognition.

Our focus on diversity and our efforts to achieve progress earned Oil Search a spot in the top 200 companies globally for gender balance and equality in the 2018 Equileap Gender Equality Ranking.

Progress against Oil Search’s diversity and inclusion goals

Focus area 2020 goal 2018 resultsStatus

Gender diversity

At least 30% female Executive General Managers on the Executive Leadership Team by 2020


Progressing, action plans in place.

30% female representation at Senior Manager level by 2020


Progressing, action plans in place.

50% female representation in graduate intakes 2018-2020


Progressing, action plans in place

Citizen development

Increase percentage of PNG citizens in leadership roles in the PNG workforce to 73% by 2020


Progressing, action plans in place.

Inclusive workplace

Consistently improve results on the Inclusion Index on the 2017 baseline


Action plans in place; results available in August 2019.

focusing on diversity and inclusion

View the SDG table

Citizen Development Programme

Citizen Development Programme

Oil Search’s capability and resilience are strengthened by having a diverse and inclusive workforce that reflects the areas in which we operate. Our Citizen Development Programme (CDP) was established in 2016 and provides clear development and employment opportunities for high-performing PNG citizens.

During 2018, 17 CDP participants were successfully placed in roles within the business, more than our target of 11. Cumulatively, 66% of our leadership roles in PNG are held by PNG citizens, so we are progressing towards our 2020 goal of 73%.

During 2018, 70 individuals attended the annual CDP residential workshop, and all participants have development actions underway with the support of a coach. The workshop was tailored to be culturally sensitive and focused on developing self-confidence, leadership presence, people leadership skills and individual accountability. Seventeen participants progressed into leadership roles during 2018 and eight were provided with a secondment opportunity to Sydney. We also started building a local coaching team with the appointment of a PNG citizen coach, responsible for supporting the development of programme participants. This will continue in 2019.

One of our key citizen development initiatives in 2018 was the introduction of a scholarship programme for young PNG citizens with demonstrated potential. The programme takes a planned, consolidated approach to educational scholarships and support. There is a focus on early identification and attraction of technical and leadership talent, with education opportunities at both secondary school and university levels in skills shortage areas such as STEM. Oil Search has partnered with the OSF to develop this programme and it will be implemented in 2019.

The Company continues to review and refresh citizen development approaches in support of our commitment to local leadership and 2020 targets.

Citizen Development Programme

View the SDG table

Case Study

Our first female Production Supervisor

Gas from the Hides gas field supplies the Hides Gas-to-Electricity Project, which is operated by Oil Search. A fully-trained Oil Search process technician, Wendy Bart, was given the opportunity through CDP to be responsible for the high-value Hides gas production facility when she became the Company’s first female Production Supervisor. We understand this is a first, not just for us, but for PNG.

Wendy comes from East Sepik Province and joined Oil Search in 2006 through the Company’s Apprenticeship Programme. She went on to participate in the Oil Search Accelerated Development Programme and the CDP.

In addition, she underwent extensive on and off-the-job development to prepare for her new role, including leadership coaching.

"I am honoured to work for a company that undoubtedly stands for gender equality right down to the floor and is giving me every support, from training and coaching to exposure to all areas of the business. On top of all that, my children receive education and medical care, and I get time off work to spend with my family" she said.

Encouraging employee wellbeing

Encouraging employee wellbeing 2

Oil Search is committed to protecting and improving the health and wellbeing of our employees and contractors. We are active in a range of multi-stakeholder forums, including the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) and IPIECA’s Health Committee. Participation supports our efforts to access and share good industry practice and knowledge.

In 2018, the Company’s wellbeing programme was rebranded and refreshed then reintroduced as Lifestyle Connect, which builds on the existing platform to deliver a renewed focus on managing the impact of lifestyle diseases.

The core programme includes education, health checks, occupational health, and professional support for employees and their families. Lifestyle Connect helps employees to actively manage specific issues related to occupational health by promoting a proactive and positive approach to health management that includes:

  • Working at altitude, heat or extreme cold.
  • Fatigue.
  • Health impacts of fly-in fly-out working.
  • Mental health and wellbeing.
  • Drugs and alcohol in the workplace.

There is increased awareness regarding mental health conditions globally, so Oil Search is acting to create a psychologically healthy workplace by helping to protect our employees’ mental health. During 2018, Better Mental Health training was conducted by industry experts across the business to:

  • Help staff recognise common mental health problems and offer appropriate support.
  • Provide practical tips for looking after their personal mental health.
  • Help de-stigmatise mental health.
  • Facilitate common dialogue from the top down.

The training was delivered in 42 sessions covering 691 participants (nearly 50% of our employees).

Engaging employees on social responsibility priorities

Engaging employees on social responsibility priorities 1

Engaging employees on social responsibility priorities 2

Oil Search invests in community organisations to help build their capacity and effectiveness. Our investment allows us to extend our reach through partnerships and to leverage our partners’ local expertise and knowledge, so we can make greater progress towards shared development outcomes. Also, championing causes that are meaningful to employees improves their engagement with the Company.

During 2018, Oil Search employees once again demonstrated their commitment to social responsibility.

  • They were at the forefront of the earthquake relief and response campaign, providing ongoing support as helping hands and through donations. Our employees donated more than US$19,500 in cash and coordinated the collection and delivery of 170 boxes of goods and supplies from staff and their families.
  • The Sydney Social Club supported a Champions of Change initiative to support Bel isi PNG , raising approximately US$4,500. As well as receiving cash donations, the Club sold cards and wrapping paper based on drawings from children in the Kikori Literacy Library around the theme of ‘happy homes’ and ‘what Christmas means to me’.
  • Nearly 2,000 people, including Oil Search employees, walked in support of the 2018 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women in Port Moresby. The walk was led by the Governor of the National Capital District, a strong advocate of speaking out against violence.
  • From August to December 2018, Sydney and Port Moresby employees participated in Oil Search’s Caring for Kids Corporate Fitness Challenge to raise funds for the Children's Ward at Port Moresby General Hospital. This initiative raised funds while improving health and fitness, with people running, cycling and rowing to raise more than US$17,400.
  • Oil Search has sponsored the Daffodil Corporate Golf Challenge since 2003, and in 2018 this event helped to raise US$30,000. All the money will go towards bringing cancer education and awareness programmes to communities and schools throughout PNG in 2019.
  • 27 employees and contractors in Port Moresby participated in our corporate blood drive in support of the Port Moresby General Hospital Blood Bank.
Case Study

Championing change in the community

Oil Search employee Dinah Gaudi, a member of our Finance team in Port Moresby, worked with 25 families and more than 100 community members in rural Port Moresby to lead the building and installation of four septic toilets to replace pit latrines. The initiative was funded through OSF’s Champions of Change small grants programme.

The grant acted as a catalyst for establishing a community planning committee, created awareness and engaged local people as volunteers in the construction. The community appreciated the process of developing committee skills, having women engaged as representatives, and being encouraged to talk about sanitation and safety needs.

The toilets are well used and cared for by the community, which is now planning to build water tanks to address the ongoing challenge of sourcing an adequate water supply.