Finding job security in an unstable market

The oil and gas market is a turbulent place to be and has been since mid-2014. With companies making cutbacks to keep operations profitable on the lower price for a barrel of oil, jobs have had to be cut and workers are understandably nervous.
Global job losses have exceeded the 250,000 mark internationally, with a staggering 65,000 jobs cut from Britain’s oil sector.
At Petroplan, we carried out a study on over 1,500 people working, unemployed or retired from the oil and gas industry to see what matters most to workers in this market now that there is such instability.

What the cuts have meant for workers

Andrew Spears, CEO of Petroplan, commented “there are times when cuts have to be made, but oil and gas organisations have been cutting hard and fast.” As a result, candidates can be reassured that these rash cuts will be undone when the market picks up, at which point workers will be worth much more.
There are jobs out there, but the cuts have made people working in the industry on both a contract and permanent basis, nervous. Reassuringly, our study found that 46% of people felt secure or very secure in their roles, with only 24% concerned about their position.

It’s not all bad

As a candidate, where you’re located has a significant influence on how secure you feel in your role. 44% of respondents based in the Middle East felt confident in their position, while the figure was less than half this in the UK at just 14%.

Given the state of the oil and gas market, candidates have been facing much more competition as the number of people applying for jobs has increased significantly. Almost 90% of respondents admitted to looking for new roles and this shows the insecurity in the market because 83% of these people were already employed.

Despite market insecurity, candidates’ own confidence is running high because 56% of people would happily change roles if a better opportunity came along. Over 60% of respondents would recommend a position in the oil, gas and energy industry to a friend with 41% feeling very positive about their career.

Reassuringly, of the people who were surveyed, 51% were employed with another 18% working on a contractual basis. The highest proportion of people work in Engineering (18%) and Maintenance and Inspection (9%), but HESQ (9%), Project management (6%) and Commissioning and operations (6%) were also popular fields to specialise in.

What happens when oil prices rise again?

94% of respondents have faith that the oil and gas industry is cyclical and will recover. When it does, companies will have to make sure they’re offering the most competitive packages and rewards to attract the high-calibre candidates.

While people are positive and loyal to the oil, gas and energy industry, there is little loyalty to companies themselves. What most people are looking for from their employer is a competitive basic pay rate, an appropriate contract length to offer job security and a reliable health plan, especially when working overseas where private medical insurance is vital.
Training is essential to a career in the oil, gas and energy industry and this was the feeling among respondents too. Almost half of the people under 29 said that training was much more important than the health plan or the length of the contract when it came to choosing a position. If companies are making cutbacks, training is an area that suffers, so when looking for your next role it is worth noting whether they offer this as part of the position.

With 63% of respondents agreeing that there is a skills shortage where they’ve been working, training will undoubtedly become more prominent on oil and gas projects in the future. Fortunately, almost 60% of clients that responded to our survey said that they would be investing more into training schemes.

It is only a matter of time before the industry recovers, which should reassure experts in this market. What is key is to ensure that the position you choose offers the right benefits for you, because at the end of the day, these giant corporations are relying on your talent.

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