What it does: Extracts oils and gas
Staff stats: Around 3500
The good bits: Being part of an innovative, high-profile company
The not so good bits: Workloads can be stressful
The Woodside Energy story
Woodside Energy, universally referred to as just Woodside, is one of the world’s younger big mining companies. It began as Woodside (Lakes Entrance) Oil Co in 1954. Within a couple of years, it was drilling off Victoria’s Ninety Mile Beach in an area neighbouring Bass Strait. After a failing to hit pay dirt after a decade exploring the waters to the south of Australia, the company decided to try its luck in the north-west. In the first half of the 1970s, Woodside discovered large reserves of gas, oil and condensates in what came to be known as the North West Shelf, propelling it into the big league. Both BHP and Shell then took significant stakes in the company. However, they have subsequently, respectively, either sold out completely or have long been in the process of doing so.
Woodside now has development and operating activities in Canada, Gabon, Ireland, Morocco, Myanmar, New Zealand, Peru, Senegal and the US. It is both the largest operator of oil and gas production facilities in Australia and the country’s largest independent, dedicated oil and gas company. In 2016 the company had operating revenue of US$4 billion (A$5 billion).
Woodside believes “an inclusive culture that promotes diversity, respect and a sense of belonging” is a key contributor to the company’s success. The company has long sought to improve the life chances of Indigenous Australians. Its current Reconciliation Plan has received the highest possible rating from Reconciliation Australia. Around three per cent of Woodside’s workforce in made up of Indigenous Australians and the company wants to raise that to 4 per cent by 2020.
The company has also sought to “drive sustainable improvement in gender diversity at all levels of the workforce”. It’s done this through redesigning processes and practices to “address challenges women face at different stages of their careers” and “minimise the potential for bias”. In 2016, 28.4 per cent of the workforce were women (almost double the industry average of 15.8 per cent).
Though its commercial activities have an obvious impact on the environment, Woodside seeks to be a global leader in sustainability. It aspires to operate in a socially and environmentally responsible manner. It is committed to the following five sustainability principles: “operating with transparency and integrity; fostering our organisation and culture; building a resilient business; operating responsibly; and creating shared value”.
Aside from paying around half a billion in taxes and royalties to Australian governments each year, Woodside shares the value by aiming to “generate positive economic, social and cultural outcomes”. For example, in 2016 the company contributed almost $16 million worth of social investment to host communities as well as spending close to $2 million funding early childhood development initiatives.
Staff are encouraged “to participate in voluntary initiatives in the community”. They receive one day of volunteer leave every year.
The recruitment process
If you’re interested in working at Woodside and in the final two years of your degree, you can apply to do the company’s ‘Summer Vacation Program’, which runs from mid-November to mid-February. This program can lead to an offer of a spot in the company’s graduate development program. It involves a demanding application process. This comprises an online application, online abilities test, emotional intelligence testing, interview and comprehensive vetting that can include “a national criminal record check, sanctions check, anti-money laundering check, academic record/qualification check and drug and alcohol screen”.
It appears Woodside will consider applications from grads from most disciplines. You don’t even to be an Australian or New Zealand citizen or permanent resident; even international students currently studying in Australia are welcome to apply.
The recruitment process for the Graduate Development Program is almost identical to that for the Summer Vacation Program. But you’ll also have to spend half a day at an assessment centre at the company's Perth head office. (As well as the standard group activities and interviews with senior staff, you’ll also be asked to do a drug and alcohol screening test during your visit.)
The grad program involves “three years of structured development with carefully designed job rotations and activities”. You’ll learn from “some of the brightest leaders in [the] industry”. You’ll gain a broad knowledge of how Woodside operates “through rotations both within [your] function and to other areas of the business”. You’ll get on-the-job experience and training that will “build on your soft skills and business and business acumen”. You’ll also be paired with a “dedicated graduate buddy who will provide practical, day-to-day advice”.
Woodside doesn’t publicise its grad salaries and they no doubt differ between business areas. But it appears you can expect a starting salary of somewhere between $65,000 - $90,000. Like most mining companies, Woodside treats its staff, particularly its professional staff, well. Employees get annual bonuses and access to a share plan, above industry average superannuation contributions, 16 weeks of paid parental leave as well as subsidised gym memberships in some locations.
While it does hire non-Australians where appropriate, Woodside prides itself on “sourcing and developing local talent”. It is committed to “providing the opportunities for our employees to reach their potential”. As part of a profitable and expanding company with an increasingly global footprint, Woodside staff have access to plenty of opportunities to further their career both in Australia and other countries. Woodside promises employees they will be “valued, recognised, challenged and rewarded” and provided with:
- Opportunities to undertake interesting work on world-class projects
- Career development through professional development programs and by working alongside industry leaders
- Educational assistance to support their career development
The vibe of the place
Woodside has a strong health and safety culture. As well as demonstrating caution in potentially dangerous environments, staff are expected to behave with integrity, act respectfully towards other, take a long-term and socially responsible perspective, be good team players, play by the rules and achieve great results.
If you want to work for an industry-leading employer that will pay you well, provide plenty of professional development opportunities and allow you to have a healthy work-life balance (most of the time), you could do a lot worse than Woodside.
From the Employer:
"What is your Woodside? Your Woodside lies deep within you. It is the unique quality that defines who you are.
Become part of our vibrant and fast growing community of graduates, supported technically and professionally with access to exciting and challenging opportunities.
Woodside is Australia’s largest independent oil and gas company with a global portfolio, recognised for our world-class capabilities – as an explorer, a developer, a producer and supplier of energy.
Our mission is to deliver superior shareholder returns through realising our vision of becoming a global leader in upstream oil and gas. Our assets are renowned for their safety, reliability and efficiency, and we are Australia’s most experienced liquefied natural gas (LNG) operator.
As a low-cost energy supplier with a sustainable business model, we are pursuing opportunities to deliver affordable energy to the world’s growing markets.
Our global exploration portfolio includes emerging and frontier provinces in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region, the Atlantic Margins and Sub-Saharan Africa.
As a graduate at Woodside you’ll enjoy a truly exciting range of career opportunities within a dynamic and challenging work environment. We offer our Graduates a three-year structured Development Program, where you will learn from some of the most reputable thinkers and leaders in our industry. The program is structured to provide you with carefully designed job rotations to set you up for success in the future.
Our graduates will have the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of our business through rotations both within their function and other areas of the business. You will work on projects and attend training to build on your soft skills and business acumen.
We know exposure to our operations is important to you so strive to get as many graduates as possible to site over the three year program.
You will get support from Woodside coaches, mentors and leaders to assist in transiting from university to the workplace. In addition, we will provide you with a dedicated graduate buddy who will provide practical, day-to-day advice."