Why Generation XYZ-ers Leave Oil Companies | RefinerLink

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Why Generation XYZ-ers Leave Oil Companies

By Tim the XYZer

Aug 17, 2014

A personal narrative of why fellow XYZ peers have left their jobs in their Oil Company.


Let’s face it – most Oil Companies work differently than typical companies in the world.  The traditional explanation accredited to Gallup surveys that most employees leave because of a bad supervisor is not applicable to the Generation XYZ Oil Professional. 


Why you ask?  It is because most Oil Companies are large enough and dynamic enough that most XYZers do not keep the same manager long enough to see that as a barrier. 


  1. The average XYZ Oil Professional job rotation stint is 12-18 months
  2. The average Supervisor rotation is 20-28 months


On average, if an XYZer gets stuck with a bad boss, the common mentality is to just stick it out for a short period of time and the poor supervisor will likely not be managing the individual soon enough!  So while some XYZ employees do leave their supervisors, our surveys indicate that the leading cause for leaving a company is because employees feel undervalued.  Listed below are the top 6 reasons why Generation XYZ employees leave their oil company.





As an XYZer myself, the data above is derived from research using empirical information from hundreds of my XYZ oil peers.  To quickly break down these categories, let’s explore the details:



Feel Undervalued – 33%:

Oil companies typically have employee performance rankings, and everyone CANNOT be at the top.  Each employee will quickly get a feel on how their Organization values them based on job progression and yearly performance ranking.  


Since oil companies generally recruit top talent, one can develop an undervalued feeling quickly as majority of the peers are already high performers.  Without proper management and open discussion with these middle-ranked employees, eventually they will start searching for outside opportunities.



Better Career Fit – 22%:


Some people are just not cut out for a job in the oil industry.  Several common reasons for changing to another field include:

-  Don’t have to deal with tough hours, turnarounds, or being on-call

-  Dislike for dealing with labor unions

-  More excitement in other fields

-  Better work/life flexibility

-  Lost interest in a technical job


There’s no real fix to a mis-matched career fit, so these are the XYZ employees that you just take as non-regret attrition, and wish them well in their endeavor.

New Career Opportunity – 17%:


Many companies may not have the flexibility or development programs necessary to properly grow their employees.  To an XYZer, opportunity is Everything because we generally take for granted what we have now and want the next BIG thing.  


Give the impression that your XYZ employee horizon may have a limit and you’re likely to lose that person quickly.


Bad Supervisor – 14%:


Yes, it still happens that a Gen XYZ oil employee will leave a company because of a bad supervisor, but it’s not the leading cause, nor is it in the Top 3.  Typically these poor supervisors will leave a trail of lost employees, so it should be easy to identify this problem.



Better Compensation – 8%:


Since pay is generally high in the industry, it is one of the lower factors for why employees leave a company.  Many companies routinely benchmark compensation with one another, so there’s a lower likelihood of having a large pay disparity for comparable positions.


If you are not benchmarking your compensation package, it would be wise to start doing this.    



Company Culture Fit – 6%:


It’s not common for the deciding factor to propagate down to a misalignment in corporate culture, but in the era where Everything matters, this closes out our top factors for losing employees.  Common elements listed in this category include:

-  Dislike of career planning methods

-  Need for better work/life balance

-  Dissatisfaction in corporate management style

-  Disagreement with corporate vision


At the end of the day, Employee Loyalty is the biggest factor to why people stay with companies.  You cannot buy loyalty as everyone will agree.  It’s the Soft side of managing your employee that has the biggest difference.  Do what you can to combat the top listed issues above and give your company the best chance of retaining that top XYZ Oil Talent.

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  • :   I am surprised to see that the bad supervisor impact is not as large as i would have expected. That appears to be a large factor at my refinery.

    Jul 04, 2012

  • Kabantiok Stephen :   I agree with the fact that most xyzers leave because they feel undervalued. I have seen it happen countless times.

    Jun 07, 2014

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