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1.1 Background of study

A general characteristic of the evolving contemporary world we find ourselves in today is its crucial use of Information Communication Technology (ICT). A resource centre on “The Role of Information Systems in Running the 21st Century Organization” states that most millennium businesses rely heavily on this vital tool’s usage to help managers make better decisions, achieve competitive advantage, facilitate seamless internal and external communications with their employees (which the Human Resources Management recruitment process happens to be a part of), increase organizational efficiency, manage cumbersome processes, improve and automate their work processes (The University of Scranton, 2018). ICT has simplified and transformed the way organisations run their day to day affairs but for the sake of this project, the focus will be on how it has aided the HRM recruitment processes and how its application and adoption has and will help the oil and gas public sector.

Chris Vein, World Bank Chief Innovation Officer said “ICTs are influencing employment both as an industry that creates jobs and as a tool that empowers workers to access new forms of work, in new and more flexible ways,” (The World Bank Group, 2013) further affirming the fact that ICT helps organisations work smart through its main resource (manpower). The business as usual mind set is deconstructed because employers see the industry holistically and know where there are genuine skill gaps, how to right size departments within the business, talent poles that needs to be created, target workforce and how effectively and efficiently those recruited can contribute to the success of the organisation.

Noting the above, ICT has come to stay, bridge gaps that need urgent attention and help ease day to day running of the conglomerate.

On the flip side, “Nothing we do is more important than hiring people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not strategies”. This quote by Lawrence Bossidy helps to reinforcing the significance of HRM. It’s common knowledge that an organisation is only as good as the calibre of people working there but this doesn’t happen by chance, it’s brought about by a selection process done skilfully known as The Recruitment Process under HRM.

According to (Dias 2011) “HRM Recruitment is defined as a process that provides the organization with a pool of qualified applicants”. Explaining it further, it’s simply the timely way of attracting a sufficient amount of appropriately qualified people who show their interest in an organization and inspiring them to apply. The success or failure of any institution is generally attributed to the competence of its workforce and the quality of such people to a large extent depends on how the recruitment exercise was conducted from the start to finish. Previous studies have shown the importance of recruitment practices to a business’s success (Tanova 2015), the two go hand in hand.

The thoughtful development of an HR recruitment strategy is critical to maximizing the value of your recruitment activities. There are numerous procedures involved in recruitment but (Breaugh, 2009) indicates that “the process of an employee recruitment process has four crucial steps. First, establish your recruitment objectives. Second, develop a recruitment strategy. Third, carry out recruitment activities and fourth, evaluate recruitment results. Aside this, public sectors, organizations, departments or any ministry in question that is recruiting candidates should endeavour to portray its good image by demonstrating a high sense of fairness at the very time of candidate selection. The applicants should be given equal, fair and even treatment irrespective of ethnic background, religious differences and other sentimental issues. This goes a long way in giving such an applicant a feeling that they made the right choice and in turn make such an individual try as much as possible to put in their best in achieving the stated aims, goals and objectives.

Hence, ICT and Human Resources (recruitment inclusive) united together forms Human Resource Information Technology (HRIS) hence enabling researchers state that the increasing use of HRIS can improve the performance of HR professionals and make them more involved in the decision-making process of the organisation. Adding to this, (Haines & Lafluer, 2012) mentions that lately, HR professionals are deploying innovative technology solutions to address their core problems such as recruitment. This opinionhas been backed by the ever-increasing investment in developing countries in ICT related management devices (Kuyoro et al., 2012).

People are the key resources that can bring growth and development in an organisation. Though a sector or organisation doesn’t have absolute power over this said asset, they can make use of certain tools and techniques to exert some vital influence over the way they perform towards achieving their stated goals. Due to the digital revolution in the world, the adoption of ICT in delivering HRM functions such as recruitment is such a tool that organisations have employed to manipulate the performance, behaviour and recruitment process of the people they rely onto achieve business success (Kovach and Hughes, 2013).

According to the Institute of Internal Auditors (2011), the public service or sector consists of governments and all publicly controlled or publicly funded agencies. It covers agencies on the Federal levels like the Federal Civil Service, Legislatures and the Judiciary including their agencies and parastatals. It is a dynamic structure of government which functions based on rules that are reviewed every five years in Nigeria to keep in tune with changing times, to serve the current needs of the public and to provide for the future requirements of the society. These public programs, goods and services rendered by government agencies all over the world are provided by a group of people known as public servants. Streamlining it to“The Nigerian Civil Service” (the mainstay of the public sector in Nigeria), public servants comprise of both senior and junior employees, as well as executive and administrative cadres who are largely notable based on their educational qualifications, training, skills, ranks, duties they discharge and how they can be of best fit into the public sector.

One major principle of a public service is “Permanence”. That is a permanent body of officials that carryout government decisions. It is permanent and its life is not tied to the life of any particular government tenure. From this principle, it is relevant to note that persons are employed into the service at one time and in some other time such persons do exit the service due to one reason or the other either by retirement, transfer, withdrawal from service etc. Therefore, government from to time do recruit and offer appointments to potential candidates to fill in the vacant positions with a view to keep the government’s work going. This buttress the importance of human resource recruitment as a government tool for increasing the workforce by hiring candidates with the right qualification, attitude and enthusiasm to demonstrate commitment on the job.

Even though it cannot be termed totally true, the perception of most job applicants in Nigerians about the recruitment process in the Nigerian public sector can be said to be primeval, ethnically influenced, nepotism, favouritism, subject to political and bureaucratic interference, non-transparent and very costly. Many public sector job openings are advertised in the press requesting job applicants to have their credentials and application letters sent via postal services, but a few parastatals have gone digital. This is a big contrast to the private sector where job openings are advertised mostly online and applicants either mail their credentials or upload their details on the company’s portal which is managed by HRIT application(s).

The public sector’s recruitment turn-around time can be shortened drastically and benefit immensely from the adoption of HRIT in their recruitment process if done transparently.

1.2       Statement of Research Problem

A sector is only as good as the calibre of people found in it, it is imperative to note that employees not only contribute to the overall success of an organisation, but they also boost each other’s morale daily. As such, a transparent yet effective recruitment process should be put in place to ensure this is achieved as soon as possible. A more practical and cost-effective approach is the adoption of HRIS in simplifying the recruitment process and making sure employers gets the right talent for the job posted.

However, this is little evidence in the oil and gas public sector to show how public servants are being recruited considering the fact they are dealing with a high volume of applicant’s   data. The processes of recruiting and selecting workers have been a matter of concern to many and needs attention.  (Delays, bottlenecks, bias, nepotism and sometimes cancelation in the recruitment process like the last conducted nation-wide 2016 NNPC recruitment process cannot be avoided when a different and more tactical approach isn’t adopted.

It is therefore clear that orthodox recruitment practices can ruin business plans, reduce work productivity and demoralize most employees in any public sector from achieving or meeting their stated objectives and goals bearing in mind that their job’s security is guaranteed. There is the need for management to put in place policies or strategies that will help recruit the best employees to endeavour the achievement of the sector's goals and objectives are met.

1.3       Research Questions

This research work is interested in finding answers to the following questions:

  1. How is the oil and gas public sector empowered ICT-wise to conduct nationwide recruitment exercise?
  2. How ICT-savvy are the HR personnel in charge of the recruitment process?
  3. To what extent are the HR personnel willing to adopt the use of ICT for recruitment purposes?
  4. To what extent can the adoption of ICT significantly reduce the cost of recruitment?
  5. To what level can the application of ICT help improve the public sector’s recruitment process as a whole?

1.4       Objective of the Study

The major objective of this project is to understand how ICT can help reduce recruitment turn-around time while the specific objectives are to:

  1. Establish if the oil and gas public sector is empowered ICT-wise to successfully conduct a nationwide recruitment exercise.
  2. Confirm how ICT-savvy HR personnel are with regards to the recruitment process.
  3. Confirm if HR personnel are willing to adopt ICT for recruitment purposes.
  4. Confirm if the adoption of ICT can significantly reduce the cost of recruitment.
  5. Establish the extent to which the application of ICT can help improve the public sector’s recruitment process.

1.5       Research Hypotheses

The following Null Hypotheses were tested in order to achieve the stated objectives of this study:

  1. H01: The empowerment of the Nigerian oil and gas sector ICT-wise has significant effect in conducting a nationwide recruitment exercise.
  2. H02: HR personnel that are ICT-savvy has significant effect on how the recruitment process is conducted.
  3. H03: Adoption of ICT by HR personnel has significant effect on the recruitment process.
  4. H04: Adoption of ICT in the Nigerian oil and gas sector’s recruitment process has significant effect on recruitment cost.
  5. H05: Application of ICT to the Nigerian oil and gas sector recruitment process has significant effect on recruitment as a whole.

1.6       Scope of the Study

This study lays emphasis on how a recruitment process time can be shortened yet managed effectively by the adoption and application of Information Communication Technology (ICT) by HR personnel. Geographically, the recruitment’s nationality of interest is Nigeria, spanning the year 2017 till date and the industry is the oil and gas sector which has quite a number of corporations but for the sake of this study is limited to these ones: Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) under the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Department of Petroleum Resources(DPR)and Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Limited (NLNG).

1.7       Significance of the Study

The significance of this study is to shed more light on how the proper application of ICT can trickle down to a more transparent and better managed recruitment process which in turn positively impacts all stakeholders concerned. Some of the stakeholders that will benefit from the impact are: The government, who would have a flourishingand scandal-free oil and gas public sector because the people working in that division have a high level of integrity and credibility. For the oil and gas sector management, this implementation would help reduce overall cost, increase profit and boosts the morale of their direct reports and colleagues working in the corporation. For the Human Resourcedepartment,in a nutshell it reduces recruitment turnaround time and saves man hours. For oil and gas sector employees, this application would help alleviate fears of preferential treatment during the recruitment process hence reinforcing the fact that people are recruited on merit based on appropriate educational qualifications, skills etc. For academics, scholars, intellectuals and researchers, they have access to unbiased information when it is needed for research or academic purposes. For the Nigerian citizens and those in diaspora, they see a sector whose recruitment process is crystal clear hence want to be a part of it. For the Information Communication Technology provider, it keeps them in business and helps them stay abreast of better ways to improve processes (not just recruitment) in organisations.

1.8       Limitations of the Study

Every study has its own limitations.Some and not all ofthe companies in the Nigerian Oil and Gas Public Sectorwhere reached due to the expanse of their geographical locations. Also, otherconstraints include bureaucratic limitations, time, shortage in data supplyandsometimes not having free access to the appropriate personnel to interview came to play.

1.9       Operational Definition of Terms

E-Recruiting: This is the way of recruiting that provides organizations with an exceptionally cost-effective way to manage and monitor a company’s entire recruitment process-from categorizing and tracking candidate’s application to ensuring security in all candidate communications and keeping logs of all correspondence for future references ( 2010).

ICT; Information and Communications Technology

HRM; Human Resource Management

Effect; Nature of relationship between variables under study

Human Resource: Are those inherent and special traits as skills, creative abilities, experience, talents, energy, knowledge competence, belief etc. that a person possesses which are needed and used by a person or a group of people to achieve set goals and objectives (Stewart, 2011).

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