There is a shared belief among industry analysts that, although 2011 will not come close to matching the volume of job vacancies seen in 2008, it will see some definite improvements to recruitment levels in the oil and gas industry.
According to a report published by OilCareers.com, a sharp dip in oil prices during the summer of 2009 led to a job slump, but as prices picked up in 2010, so too did the number of vacancies – and this trend is set to continue this year.
Proving this prediction right, a study undertaken by UK-based Engineering Construction Industry Training Board found that 81% of companies expect to grow their businesses over the next five years, with 44% anticipating significant growth in 2011, meaning more vacancies will need to be filled.
However, the oil and gas industry is now facing a new challenge: demand for skilled and experienced staff is currently exceeding supply.
Demand for skilled and experienced employees continues to outstrip supply with technical positions such as engineers and geoscientists being the most difficult to fill.
Although enrolment in university programmes such as petroleum engineering has increased over the years, bachelor of science degrees granted in this subject declined by 74% between 1983 and 2006, and the expected loss in petroleum engineers and geoscientists over the next five years is greater than 80%, according to figures compiled by OilCareers.com.
The oil and gas workforce is aging at a rapid rate: more than one third of technical staff are over the age of 50 and only 27% are under the age of 40.
In contrast, 59% of the software industry workforce is under 40.
The Oil & Gas Global Salary Guide, published in April by recruiting company Hays Oil & Gas, revealed a positive growth in salaries across the industry.
The figures, which were collected from 11,000 industry professionals and recruiters during September and October 2010, reflect the fact that each country was in the recovery cycle. Average daily contract rates for local professionals in Singapore almost doubled – from S$280 to S$500 – between 2009 and 2010.
In Asia, wages rose by as much as 10%–15% over this period, with locals earning an average US$66,300 (S$83,530), up from US$56,700. Other regions, however, experienced a flat market in terms of increases.
The Energy Recruitment Live Event, which took place in May in the UAE, was attended by close to 1,000 job seekers. Industry heavyweights Topaz, GASCO, PDO and Saudi Aramco were also on hand to speak to potential candidates.
Analysts predicted at the beginning of 2011 that there would be a 60% increase in oil and gas recruitment in the Middle East this year, with similar numbers expected in Europe and the Americas.
RenewableUK estimates that 60,000 renewable positions will be created by 2020 and that the renewable energy market will take over the oil and gas industry over the next decade.
Despite offshore industry reports stating otherwise, demand for oil and gas workers is expected to fall and firms and companies will need to get more involved in offshore wind farming to integrate themselves into the renewable energy sector.