A review of the employment environment in the energy sector by Petroplan has found that, despite a major contraction in the value of the energy employment market over the past two years, global oil prices are now around the level where demand for talent looks set to pick up again. Respondents from thirty-five organisations from across the major global oil and gas hubs participated in the survey, the aim of which was to gain insight from the industry’s employers on the prospects for recovery, and how this would impact on hiring in the near future.
Contract staff are likely to be in the vanguard of any recovery, with over two-thirds of respondents expecting greater use of contractors, bringing with them the flexibility and cost control which are critical in the current business environment. The use of Western expat contractors – long seen as a mainstay of the oil and gas industry – looks set to decline however as lower-cost local talent upskills and nationalisation targets take effect. Activity is expected to pick up on onshore rigs first (in the US, then Middle East, Asia and Africa), followed by shallow water projects. Experienced technical talent, as well as those with a combination of technical and financial skills, look set to be most in demand in any recovery. Mechanical and chemical engineers, project managers and IT experts were among the shortage roles cited in the survey.
If anything, the oil price downturn since mid-2014 has increased the demographic challenge the industry faces, with experienced middle managers laid off and millennials put off entering the industry. While two thirds of respondents recognise the challenge as a major obstacle to growth, there was a feeling that multi-skilling and up-skilling the existing workforce will help to address it.
Rory Ferguson, CEO of Petroplan, said: “After a very challenging couple of years, our review reflects a cautious optimism for the future among energy employers. This is feeding through into hiring strategies that are focussed to a greater degree on cost efficiency and flexibility – but not at the expense of quality”.
“Something that came across very strongly from the review is that, whilst employers want to fill roles quickly, they also want to find the right candidate in terms of technical and business culture fit. Reconciling these two is where specialist recruiters such as Petroplan play a key role, even more so with the reduction of internal recruitment teams in many organisations”.