Human Capital Development in CNPC International Kazakhstan
Interview with Deputy General Director for Human Resources Management, Mrs. Raikhan Abdrassilova on the eve of the 25th anniversary of Kazakh-Chinese cooperation in the oil and gas sector
– Mrs. Abdrassilova, taking this opportunity, on the eve of the 25th anniversary of CNPC's activity in Kazakhstan, let me congratulate you and ask a few questions. CNPC is a large international multinational corporation. What principles does CNPC follow in its activities?
– CNPC Corporation has been operating in Kazakhstan since 1997. During this time, work has been established at joint Kazakh-Chinese enterprises, including CNPC-Aktobemunaigas, PetroKazakhstan Kumkol Resources, "PetroKazakhstan Oil Products, Mangistaumunaigas, Asia Gas Pipeline, Kazakhstan-China Pipeline, and others.
Being a permanent member of the Council of Foreign Investors under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kazenergy Association, CNPC participates in activities of working groups on various areas of the oil and gas industry. Paying attention to business issues and following the corporate principles and philosophy – Energize. Harmonize. Realize, CNPC transforms the activities of enterprises based on the harmonious combination of business with the environment – respect for nature, participation in decarbonization issues, green economy, etc.
Definitely, the main driving force of CNPC are people – employees of enterprises who give their energy, love, and commitment to work. In this connection, the issues of human capital development, the creation of human resources for the oil and gas industry of the Republic of Kazakhstan are at the head of the main strategic objectives of CNPC.
– Your activity is carried out in the field of human capital management. Tell us, what is the corporation's strategy in the development of human resources?
– In his speech, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, stressing the importance of enhancing the quality of human capital, there is a need to provide training in technical and engineering specialties. This is, perhaps, one of the leading and relevant trends in the issues of professional training of specialists for the country's energy sector. It is gratifying to note that the state's interests in improving the quality of human capital are directly reflected in the strategies of CNPC Corporation. For example, job creation is a priority, as a result, over 30 thousand jobs have been created in Kazakhstan over 25 years of activity, while the share of foreign personnel is only 1.7%.
I would like to note that on the human development stage, the introduction of new technologies and techniques, the knowledge gained yesterday is rapidly losing its relevance and becoming obsolete, requiring each of us to acquire new skills and constantly improve them. Considering the challenges of the market related to the transformation of production, the introduction of new technologies, the issues of professional training, retraining, and the development of human capital are some of the important and priority tasks of the corporation. In this connection, there are positive dynamics in implementing the issues of specialists' retraining and development of human resources in the Kazakhstani-Chinese joint ventures. At the expense of subsoil users, not only training and development of employees of CNPC enterprises is carried out, but also various educational programs are implemented, grants are awarded for training of Kazakhstani citizens in universities of the Republic of Kazakhstan and abroad.
– We understand that not only our country but the whole world is experiencing the complexities of the global crisis. How do CNPC enterprises cope with the crisis in Kazakhstani-Chinese joint ventures?
– The 2020-2021 crisis affected the global economy as a whole, namely the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which was followed by a sharp decline in demand for oil and a drop in its price, the crumbled OPEC+ deal on reduction of oil production, while Saudi Arabia announced an increase in sales – all these factors with the consequences had a negative impact on the activities of enterprises in Kazakhstan, including CNPC joint ventures.
At the same time, based upon analytical data and production indicators provided by the enterprises, there is a substantial decline in the level of production in some areas, for example, in Kyzylorda region. The increase in capital and operating costs caused by the modernization and repair of oilfield equipment increases the financial and economic burden on companies as well.
Considering the actual situation under the conditions of a pandemic, the impact of the consequences of the crisis on all spheres of human activity, CNPC Corporation always strives to resolve problems and disputes through problems. To provent the risk of industrial disputes, social tensions, and destabilization of the situation in the regions, the management of joint ventures operating as part of CNPC Corporation in Kazakhstan has made timely constructive decisions:
- The full-time number of employees has been maintained at the enterprises, there have been no job reductions.
- All the requirements of labor and collective agreements are fulfilled in full.
- As for wages, we understand that this is a very sensitive issue, the unresolved nature of which often leads to various labor disputes. In this connection, CNPC conducts an annual salary review based on the analysis of the labor market of the Republic of Kazakhstan; expert studies provided by international companies by region and industry are studied; statistical data published in official Kazakhstani sources; reviews on wages provided by joint ventures, etc. A lot of analytical work is carried out to understand the situation and the dynamics of wage growth, both in the context of CNPC enterprises and at the sectoral, regional, and domestic levels.
It is worth mentioning that CNPC enterprises increase wages to employees on annual basis which in many enterprises often exceeds Kazakhstani official inflation rate. For example, in the current 2022, a wage increase was carried out for employees of joint ventures, which exceeded the level of established inflation in the Republic of Kazakhstan by 2-3 times.
Also, sometimes the statements of some Kazakhstani experts who claim that workers in the oil and gas industry of Kazakhstan should receive salaries corresponding to the European level are surprising. Such views are difficult to agree with. A comprehensive approach is needed. It is crucial to consider all the main indicators, both in Kazakhstan and in the context of regions; the level of wages, considering industry and regional coefficients; indicators of production activity, etc. Actually, it a huge analytical work performed annually. It is clear that a comprehensive approach to the issue of renumeration would ensure of making the right and balanced management decisions.
It should also be noted that a special attention is paid to occupational safety issues. Measures are fully carried out to protect workers' health by providing individual and collective protective equipment. Medical insurance is provided, not only for employees but also for their family members. Additional vacations are provided, material benefits are allocated for recovery and treatment.
Due to quarantine measures, employees of enterprises, considering the features of functionality and responsibilities, have been transferred to remote work and still, whenever possible, remain at home working online.
The policy of information openness is maintained at the proper level; meetings with employees are regularly held to identify problems and disagreements, discuss and find ways to compromise. Employees' moods are monitored with the assistance and direct participation of line managers, members of trade union committees.
In these challenging times, the CNPC "Energize. Harmonize. Realize." philosophy inspires employees to be committed, first of all, to the mutually beneficial interests of Kazakhstan, in which we live and work; motivates people to a worthy role in society and a responsible attitude to fulfilling their duties, implementing the tasks and plans of Kazakh-Chinese oil and gas cooperation.
– What would you wish your colleagues on the eve of a significant anniversary?
– On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Kazakh-Chinese oil and gas cooperation, I would like to wish the people of the two countries friendship and good neighborliness, mutually beneficial cooperation, well-being, and prosperity!
– Thank you for the conversation!