Statistics show that the margin between contract and staff positions, in 2009, reflected an equal split, but this now reveals a shift to five times as many staff than contract roles, equating to 80% of job types currently registered on OilCareers.com.
This comes as part of a move towards longer term recruitment strategies to encourage experienced personnel to the area, as highlighted by Pauline Redpath, Global Recruitment Manager at Expro, who commented: “Due to the increasing difficulties facing the sector in recruiting workers equipped with the desired skills, companies including Expro are now focussed on capturing and retaining new talent and developing them into our leaders of the future – this has meant a move away from using temporary or contract workers.
“Other factors such as the aging workforce may also have a part to play in a higher percentage of new permanent staff being recruited in trainee programmes geared at reducing the potential skills gap in the coming years.”
Vacancies most in demand in the Gulf of Mexico are shown to be; qualified designers, engineers (electrical, subsea hardware engineer, exploration reservoir, mechanical) and seismic interpreter/geoscientists. While primary skill sets of applicants are in line with these roles, it is clear that there is still a genuine need for manpower in the region and across the US.
This desire for personnel continues to grow particularly in relation to deepwater developments in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the shale oil and gas revolution in North America. Activity in natural gas has also cemented Houston as the top location for vacancies in the US, with Texas oil production seeing a 25% increase last year in comparison with 2011 being named the top gas producing state in 2012.
Mark Guest (pictured), Managing Director, OilCareers.com said: “Oil and gas majors view the on-going skills shortage as the biggest threat to the sector and it is clear that they are stepping up efforts to develop strategies that help present the energy sector as a secure, assured and affluent career path to individuals to best ensure the constant flow of skills needed to fulfil the potential of their assets.”
The natural gas revolution has led to comments that the US may be close to energy self-sufficiency by 2030 from Bob Dudley, Chief Executive Officer, BP, with President Obama also supporting this view to independence stating that the shale gas boom has led to cleaner power and that his administration will be accelerating new oil and gas permits.
With 94% of applications in the US coming from American nationals, this attractive outlook and increased view to self sustainability is likely to mean fewer US residents pursuing the higher salaries on offer in countries such as Africa and the Middle East. It will also help to attract talent from overseas.
Mark Guest added: “Ever-increasing activity and constantly evolving technologies in the Gulf of Mexico and across the wider US is extremely promising and it has never been more important for oil and gas businesses to implement robust recruitment strategies in order to attract the talent needed to sustain their efforts.
“It is up to employers to make the oil and gas industry an attractive proposition to new entrants by highlighting the wide range of possible roles within the industry, from engineering and geosciences to project control, health and safety and drilling positions.
“Many companies already offer acclaimed graduate and apprenticeship schemes to attract young people into the industry, as well as offering training and development programmes to ensure constant development of staff in line with industry breakthroughs. However, as the Global Oil & Gas Workforce Survey: Expectations for hires and pay rates in the oil and gas industry (H1) 2013 revealed, 20% of recruiters highlight the biggest training issue as the lack of skilled trainers. This suggests a specific need to attract staff between the ages of 35-55 with over five years experience, to ensure a constant flow of knowledge and support to the existing workforce.”