Within the oil and gas industry, contractor mobilisation and on-boarding the right people to the right location at the right time is a critical part of the smooth running of projects and operations. There are times when numerous contractors are needed urgently and often particular specialist skills and experience required.
Specialist energy recruitment agencies help to accelerate the on-boarding process. They deliver contractors to meet project needs in all parts of the world.
On-boarding contractors can be a complicated and time-consuming process.
There are fundamentally three stages:
#3 Assignment Support
Pre-assignment requirements will vary depending on local regulations and requirements. This phase can include attestation and verification of educational and training certificates, interviews, background checks, medical screenings and drafting and negotiation of contracts.
Contractor mobilisation includes ensuring correct visas, work permits and any other local document requirements are in place. Travel and accommodation needs to be arranged along with local transportation with appropriate safety and security measures.
Once a contractor is in-situ, ongoing assignment support includes payrolling, contract administration, renewals or termination as required. Training re-validation may also be necessary, along with any visa or work permit renewal. Demobilisation arrangements need to be in place along with appropriate medical and travel insurance and emergency evacuation if required.
The whole global mobilisation administration task is a huge overhead for oil and gas companies, especially at a time where internal resources may already be stretched. Having a specialist agency to handle this aspect of the business comes with many advantages, not least having experts in each specific area of the process to ensure contractors can be in place quickly and on-going operations continue to run smoothly.
A particular benefit offered by Petroplan over and above standard mobilisation services is a global presence. Being able to meet face to face with contractors and being on hand to support them with documentation, whether through a local office or long term strategic partner, can really speed up the whole on-boarding procedure.
Local medicals can be arranged and a more personal approach taken with the recruitment process; ensuring both contractor and client get the services they need. Dedicated teams that focus on specific areas of the mobilisation process help ensure that no mistakes are made and, once again, all parties are getting the very best service. This often leads to a long relationship with both contractors and clients that result in a much deeper understanding of skills and individual business procedures and complete peace of mind that all necessary support is in place.
First and foremost are all necessary procedures and experience to ensure safety and security are optimised, especially as contractors are often mobilised to countries or regions where there are specific security challenges. Verifying HSE credentials is critical along with face-to-face inductions that include relevant evacuation procedures, a 24-hour emergency support network, and help with finding the most suitable and secure local accommodation.
Companies such as Petroplan owe much of their success to a strong culture of contractor safety and security. Based on its vast experience and knowledge within the oil and gas industry, Petroplan has fully integrated the Health, Safety, Environment, Quality and Social Responsibility (HSEQ & SR) system into its business. Following a “plan – do – review – improve” methodology, the system is designed to keep contractors as safe as possible and provide complete peace of mind to both candidates and clients.
A global database of skilled and experienced contractors is vital so we can match personnel to the needs of individual projects. This combined with knowledge and experience of local markets to ensure efficient on-boarding. Petroplan, for example, has a long track record of placing skilled professionals into more than 70 countries across more than 60 disciplines for hundreds of clients.
This experience and depth of candidate database can meet even the most demanding of client requirements. For instance, one oil company with operations in North Africa required mobilisation of 20 contractors in just a six-week period. Using global resources and a vast database of workers, Petroplan achieved this with all necessary medical and administrative documentation in place – something which internal business resources would almost certainly have struggled to achieve in such a short space of time.
All of the services provided by a specialist mobilisation agency ultimately need to culminate in timely and safe on-boarding. Provision of correctly skilled and experienced personnel, at the right time, will keep operations running smoothly. As a specialist, Petroplan can also offer significant additional benefit to contractors.
A long relationship leads to an understanding of skills and easier placement but additional services such as contract negotiations; mental health support initiatives; VMS training; continuous engagement, and multi-country, face to face support can provide much more efficient and reliable on-boarding.
Providing a service with a personal touch and regular candidate contact has proven to attract and retain highly skilled contractors. Furthermore, the comprehensive and personalized support means less administrative burden for the contractor. They can completely focus on their assignment. Contractor mobilisation should feel simple for the professional.
Whether recruited by the agency or nominated by the client, all candidates receive the same ISO accredited on-boarding services. To meet client requirements and expectations, contractor mobilisation consultants work closely with business managers.
Local teams are available to understand the unique territory challenges. They work closely with the client to foresee and handle issues if they arise. Combining a global network of in-country support with central administering achieves quicker results in terms of finding and mobilising the right resources.
It is clear that specialist recruiters accelerate and improve the contractor mobilisation and on-boarding processes. They also act as brand ambassadors for clients by ensuring they meet project and local needs. They bring with them dedicated teams with specific skill sets. The experience in recruitment and mobilisation can be difficult for clients to maintain internally as personnel requirement levels ebb and flow. This frees up internal resources to focus on other areas of the business. Furthermore, it offers clients the ability to mobilise large volumes of contractors when needed to any part of the world.
The team responsible for onboarding is as vital as front-facing recruiters. They ensure appointed personnel are able to add value to the customer’s project from day one.
The success of the first mobilisation project for an employer is critical for a positive perception amongst a contractor community. The onboarding organisation needs to demonstrate diligence and care for the contractors. Plus ensure on-time and accurate payment speedy resolution of queries.
So whether you are a contactor looking to payroll through an agency or an employer looking for an onboarding solution. Petroplan would love to hear from you.
As a global recruiter in the oil and gas industry, Petroplan receives many styles of job descriptions from the employers we work with. We wanted to run through some tips to help both hiring managers and candidates get what they need from a job description to write or understand a great job posting or advert. The job description is the basis of a job advert. However, it should not be the advert!
The advert is about attracting attention to read more from the right target audience. The confusion online, however, is that you may well host your job description online too, both have an effect on how findable the job listing will be. Here are some tips to make your job posting or advert stand out online.
It is said that it is the responsibility of the communicator to ensure they are understood by their audience. Easy to say but hard to do. Especially when it comes to making sure your important vacancy listing details all the important skills and attributes a successful candidate will possess while selling the role. Getting the job ad right will aid conversations with applicants or those candidates who are approached directly by a recruiter.
Although on many occasions, your recruiter will source the candidate from existing talent networks, job advertising still has a role to play. So-called passive talent is often said to be preferable but great people who manage their careers are also open to applying to advertised roles. Furthermore, with the legal requirements around job advertising, the candidate, even if headhunted, will likely believe the existence of a vacancy with what is essentially a public notice to prove it.
Before we talk through key pointers to highlight from the job description for candidate attraction. Let’s talk about the key aspects of the job description that inform the advert.
Lastly, if the expanded job description is hosted on your website, it is wise for this descriptive information to be between 150 to 600 words. The search engine will be ranking the advert’s relevance to the landing page which hosts this job description text.
The oil and gas industry is a very technical sector and needs to often attract professionals with the right skills to new countries and technologies. There are many key facts that need to be clear to avoid frustration on both the candidate and employer’s side.
All industries have their jargon and acronyms but overuse can make the advert not only harder to understand but more difficult to find. There is also some reticence from employers and recruiters about sharing salary details. Data shows from a Google search perspective that postings with salary information get more traffic than those without, even when the salary is below market rate. As with all decisions, you must weigh up the risk versus the reward of sharing this information.
So you have your job description, let’s sell the role. Petroplan like all recruiters work with many job boards and networks. We receive regular advice on best practice in writing adverts and job descriptions. There are of course tips that are more relevant for the different parts of the world but here are some of the universally accepted job advert wisdom.
Use your brand and company name. It seems obvious but allowing your recruiter to mention your brand can increase applications. However, if your organisation is less well known the brand of the recruitment firm can also carry weight. Especially if it is well known for particular job types and sector.
Job titles should be concise. Avoid jargon or abbreviations such as VP for Vice President. Internet search engines will assess the relevancy from the job title phrase, this includes seniority. Make the job title descriptive. For example, try Senior Drilling Engineer rather than Top Drilling Professional.
As already mentioned, salary details can enhance the position of your ad through Google Search. Google for Jobs is a growing resource for job seekers. Although concentrated in the US. Its impact is building. Any spend on Google Paid search advertising should be improved with attention to Google’s search quality criteria.
For energy professionals, location is extremely important, as they may well be comparing countries not just cities. The mobile nature of oil and gas, especially for contractors means a job applicant will need to consider whether they are eligible to work in a country. As well as how this would affect their tax and visa commitments.
Don’t forget Search Engine basics when crafting your job description. Search engines (and job seekers) are very well adapted to spotting deliberate attempts to generate more traffic and will punish listings that include:
To avoid keyword stuffing try not to use keywords more than 5 times in the body of your job postings.
The job description itself. In a job advert, keep it brief and focus on the most important job responsibilities. Plus be sure to explain how the role fits into the overall business for additional context and any exciting project details.
Requirements and Qualifications in the energy sector are critical. Adherence to health and safety conditions will mean not only a reference to experience but also specific qualifications awarded by defined award bodies. Make it clear the exact name of the qualification so job seekers can easily rule themselves in or out.
Education and experience can often be secondary to the earlier points for quickly deciding if the job is relevant. If the earlier points such as job title, compensation, location and key training requirements are clear, the potential candidate will read on.
To summarise, it all starts with a clear and informative job description which accurately describes the skills, experience and qualifications required by the employer. Recruitment professionals, such as our teams at Petroplan, will advise employers on the key aspects of the role which will be attractive to potential applicants.
Being clear on the job advert on the functional aspects of a role such as location, salary, qualification eligibility and job title will enable active candidates to quickly find the opportunity and select themselves in or out. This clarity speeds up the successful appointment of the right person. Keeping it simple is definitely the key to receiving a volume of appropriate candidates in a timely manner.
Petroplan wins a place in LinkedIn’s award for being one of the top 25 Most Socially Engaged staffing agencies in its category. This award is made possible by our engagement with our LinkedIn community. So we’d like to give a big thank you to our consultants, clients, contractors and candidate network. Their engagement with Petroplan helped us achieve this great accolade of being #MostSociallyEngaged.
We recognize that this award is a reflection of the commitment of our consultants. Their utilization of this great tool allows us to achieve engaging conversations with our community. The award also takes account of the social reach of our interesting content and job posts. Achieving number 13 on LinkedIn’s ‘2017 Most Socially Engaged staffing agencies’ is further acknowledgment of our Social Recruiting abilities.
As a specialist oil, gas and energy recruitment business, Petroplan has a need to communicate with our contacts all over the world. The LinkedIn platform is a great medium for keeping in touch with these mobile workers as they are focussed on sharing their availability and experience for their next career move, as they relocate from one project to another.
To ensure this community see our view on the industry as well as being able to have conversations about job opportunities; we do 2 things well. Firstly, we share content at scale. And secondly, we promote career opportunities through a targeted approach using LinkedIn.
What is the methodology? LinkedIn take into account the social reach, employee engagement, employment brand and content marketing power of search and staffing firms on LinkedIn. They do this by investigating thousands of data points, over the past year, for more than 60,000 Search and Staffing companies listed on LinkedIn. LinkedIn collected the data from September 1st 2016 until August 31st 2017.
The three key areas LinkedIn is measuring are Content Marketing, Social Reach and Social Engagement and Social Recruiting.
An Agency’s content efforts measured by members’ engagement with that content. These content points include company updates, sponsored updates, influencer and employee posts and employee shares. Plus LinkedIn measure member engagement – these are likes, shares, comments, follows and clicks.
LinkedIn measures an Agency’s presence on LinkedIn through the activity of its members such as:
Viewing and applying for Jobs
Following your Company Page
Researching a Career Page
Seeing and engaging with company content
Social Recruiting How effective an agency’s consultants are at:
Establishing a professional brand through profile completeness and rich content
Finding the engaging with the right people
Building meaningful networks
LinkedIn’s #MostSociallyEngaged companies came from a number of categories. These include Large firms with a global presence, Medium Enterprises in one of three territories and Specialist Boutiques also across the same territory categories.
Petroplan won the award in the Medium Enterprise category (Employee size 50-499) within the Europe Middle East and Africa region.
Finally, we hope that this kind of award drives best practice amongst the staffing agency community to utilise LinkedIn to engage, inform and build talent communities to give the industries they serve access to today’s talented professionals.
Petroplan finds new jobs for energy industry professionals every day, with many of these placements involving global relocation for people and their families. For many in the oil, gas and energy employment market, this means ensuring a new opportunity works for their family, in the same way most of us must consider the impact of a new career challenge.
During this week of World Mental Health Day, we thought we would add to the conversation about work-life balance. It may seem unusual coming from a recruiter supporting an industry that requires frequent global relocation, however, the experience we have in this sector means we have much to say on the subject. The insights we have shared from our candidates and contractors may help if you are having a tough day away from home or if you are deciding on a role or indeed if you have someone close to you that works in this rewarding but often demanding sector.
In this article, we are looking at raising awareness of the impact on families of these economic drivers and, of course, the great career opportunities that still exist in the industry.
At Petroplan, recruiters are tuned into the motivations of candidates – as well as to the candidate’s suitability for a role in terms of skill and cultural fit. Motivations often stem from key drivers for success and happiness – with family and close relationships a key consideration. Since the downturn in 2014, industry professionals have undergone huge amounts of stress through a scarcity of career opportunities, the threat of job losses and pay cuts. Added to this is the frequent requirement to relocate for work – which can sometimes lead to people making choices that are not in their best interests at a personal level.
The questions a recruiter may ask to check that someone understands the impact on family life of relocating for work may include these:
There are many more questions related to the location, type of work and length of contract – but the fundamental question is – will you and your family be able to manage the change/your absence?
In our previous blogs about mental health, we touched on the isolation that industry professionals can feel when away from home, the pressure to quickly adjust to new teams, and the need for communication. It is essential to seek help before anxiety takes its toll, and to help others wherever possible.
I am writing this blog from first-hand experience as someone with a family member working in the sector. Many workers and their families see the mobile nature of oil and gas careers not as a sacrifice, but rather a natural part of working in the sector. Nevertheless, whether you are just starting out or a seasoned industry professional, this aspect of the job can place undue stress on those involved.
If you are on rotation or a short-term contract, it can mean less upheaval for the family if they remain resident in your country of origin. The contractor and their family must be prepared for moments when the distance can be tough, particularly for everyday decisions and special occasions. The availability of technology, even in the remotest of destinations, means it is now much easier to stay in touch with loved ones and events at home.
It can also help to agree a schedule of contact via communication platforms such as Skype, WhatsApp, Facetime and – cost permitting – by phone. Whatever the method, staying in touch regularly helps keep all parties in tune and can reduce the anxieties caused by being far away from loved ones.
Many mobile professionals are open to full-time relocation, with destinations such as the Middle East and South Africa popular as expatriate residential options. However, with the cost of living rising in many parts of the world, some of these options have become less attractive, as the daily lives of industry workers and their families are directly impacted by economic considerations.
Key considerations in a move overseas will typically be the standard of living presented by the location, accommodation options and the quality of local schooling and healthcare. This level of commitment to an employer and a new location should not be taken lightly. Families may also have concerns about safety and security and, of course, the transition back to their home country when the work ends.
If you and your family take this opportunity, it can be a great experience but it is important to do your homework on what to expect. Many locations offer a great expatriate network where you can share your experiences with people in the same situation; getting involved in the local community will definitely help with transition.
For the most part, a career in the energy sector is a rewarding lifestyle choice. Work with your recruiter to get the full picture before committing to a complete change – and check with your family on how it will impact them. Talking to people who have already worked and lived abroad is also a really good time investment. Many employers can put you in touch with colleagues prior to joining to help with any advice you may need, whether it is just for the professional or the whole family.
For more information on working and living abroad visit:
Written by Heather Nickson
In our world of recruitment, there are a lot of different cultural norms with regards to applying for a job and many different ways of responding to a job advert. Petroplan’s new website standardises the job application process to make sure every candidate gets the same experience.
In different parts of the world people do things in different ways. We often base our approach to processes such as applying for a job based on our world view. For Petroplan with offices in North America and the UK, we try to make a real effort to walk in the shoes of candidates from outside this predominantly English language biased region. Job seekers across the world for example can approach this from a very formal application to sharing quite personal details about their family status for example. This differs from country to country.
In the job application process, not only will the content of applications differ but also the chosen channels for communication will be different.
Petroplan has noticed through user experience research that people:
What do we understand from this behaviour? Especially when it can be characteristic of applicants from particular regions.
People are used to doing things their own way.
Because of this, through Petroplan’s continuous improvement programme, we are constantly changing our website, social media posts and e-mails in general to encourage people to take part in a standardised application process through the website.
This allows us to:
In the news, there are lots of articles about oil, gas and energy and the way that industries are changing. This allows many companies to progress and require more skills for use in the “digital oil field” for example. Petroplan – as a forward thinking oil, gas and energy recruitment company – has started to build a community of candidates that have at least an understanding of online information requirements. This will be a key skill as more data is recorded in this way in most job roles.
To register and apply for a job at Petroplan, we ask candidates to complete only a few fields and to upload their CV/Resume. And of course agree to the terms and conditions around retaining their data. It might seem simple to many online job seekers, however, we remain mindful that this first step on finding the right job is unfamiliar to many who may have been securing work in the energy industry through more personal first encounters.
Our advice to candidates is to keep personal details safe and utilise reputable online job application processes such as those on Petroplan.com. Finally, take the time to understand the information required to make sure you have completed the key information that recruiters will use to identify your relevant skills.
Petroplan will be exhibiting in the North Sea Decommissioning Zone at SPE Offshore Europe 2017 in September. Decommissioning is a special focus at the conference with a range of expert speakers. These are part of the plenary and new Decommissioning Zone technical programme. Supported by Decom North Sea, this new zone will deliver an extensive line-up of industry commentators and business speakers. Petroplan will be exhibiting on stand 6A24.
With more than 100 offshore platforms forecast for full or partial removal in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) and 1,800 wells to be plugged over the next decade, SPE recognised a need to place North Sea decommissioning high on the 2017 Offshore Europe agenda.
As several assets in the North Sea reach the end of their lifespan, the latest cost estimate from the Oil and Gas Authority has predicted the cost of decommissioning the UKCS oil and gas infrastructure is £59.7 billion with an ambitious goal of completing this work for less than £39 billion. Source: https://www.offshore-europe.co.uk/Show-Features/Decommissioning-Zone/
Petroplan’s decision to take part in this conference is in response to the growing need for specialist skilled people to plan, oversee and deliver North Sea decommissioning projects. Petroplan as an international oil, gas and energy recruitment and contract management business started its 40 year service in the North Sea. We are therefore well-versed in the challenging conditions and identifying and mobilising the appropriately skilled professionals to deliver projects safely in this location. This is a natural progression for our teams to support our clients and contractors through the North Sea life cycle as they move from late life to decommissioning.
The 24 months since the oil price slide have seen as many as 440,000 redundancies worldwide, as well as thousands of early retirees with three decades and more of experience in their fields. Source: https://www.oilandgasiq.com/strategy-management-and-information/articles/decommissioning-oil-gas-north-sea-uk-norway
So the challenge for those organisations looking to fulfil North Sea decommissioning projects will in large part be due to labour shortages. Many of these organisations are seeing the commercial opportunity in these decommissioning ventures and will need to select their key teams with great care.
Only earlier this month, an offshore vessel said to have produced almost 150 million barrels of oil over 36 years has arrived in Shetland for decommissioning. Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-40910885 Originally a drilling rig, Buchan Alpha started production from the Buchan field in 1981.It was taken out of service in May by operators Repsol Sinopec Resources UK.
North Sea decommissioning is high on the political agenda of the Scottish government. It is committed to supporting Scottish industry win this decommissioning activity as an estimated £17.6bn is expected to be spent in the North Sea over the next decade as mature fields reach this stage in their project lifecycle.
The government is now actively supporting the industry, through the £5m Decommissioning Challenge Fund and the Decommissioning Action Plan, to identify further investment opportunities to capture contracts for later stages of the North Sea decommissioning process. Sources: https://www.energyvoice.com/oilandgas/north-sea/148405/scottish-energy-minister-visits-dundee-port-hear-decommissioning-offshore-wind-ambitions/
Applications to remove platforms are starting to come in thick and fast. Organisations such as Britain’s Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) estimate the price of decommissioning the UK’s offshore oil and gas facilities at almost £60 billion ($78 billion) in 2016 prices, based partly on a survey of operators’ intentions. However, there is evidence to suggest that there is scope for reducing that sum by up to 35% to just below £39 billion ($51 billion). This could be achieved through developing more innovative contracting approaches and sharing lessons from completed decommissioning projects. One of the initiatives the authority cited is the UK’s multi-operator well plugging and abandonment (P&A) campaign. According to the Aberdeen-based Oil & Gas Technology Centre, P&A activity accounts for around half the UK’s decommissioning costs. Source: http://www.offshore-mag.com/articles/print/volume-77/issue-8/departments/offshore-europe/baltic-countries-seek-norway-gas-link.html
The particular challenges of the North Sea decommissioning mean that the skills and technology developed here will be of enormous use to global decommissioning projects in the future. They will help to work towards the cost savings that could be achieved through the approach to the project. For instance, new waterjet cutting technologies which can cut in difficult and confined conditions – like those found on an oil rig – will enable decommissioning teams to operate more quickly and easily.
In particular, cold cutting water jet technologies can now be operated around 1km from where the actual cutting is taking place. And with its ability to operate both on land, underwater and in potentially explosive environments, it is perfectly placed to help decommission the North Sea and help lead the UK into a new age of decommissioning excellence. As more fields go offline, the skills and technologies developed in the UK will likely be in high demand.
Our recruitment specialists are segmented into Specialist Discipline Teams focused on key areas of the business. These teams work independently of each other to build discipline-specific groups of talent, and are founded on exceptional levels of technical knowledge – ideally equipping them to qualify candidates to a very high technical level. We speak the language of the industry and genuinely understand the requirements of our clients; allowing us to quickly and efficiently gauge a candidate’s suitability.
In the early stages we expect to recruit for: The Senior Project Management Team.
In the execution and design phases of project management we’d focus on roles such as Structural Engineers, Subsea / Pipeline Engineers, Subsurface / Reservoir Engineers (Petroleum), Wells Engineers, Accountants / Cost Controllers, Planners, Asset management (i.e. OIM’s ) Risk & Tech Safety, Specialist Study providers, Public Affairs, Environmental Advisers, Permits / Regulation Adviser, Auditors / Peer Reviewers, Supply chain & Logistics, Admin & IT (Inc. Document Control), Partner Reps, Human Resources and Well Examiners.
In the latter execution and close out phases, we’d identify staff for (Vessel Rep, Materials control, Safety Adviser, Well supervisor roles. Specialist contractors (i.e. NORM / LSA, seabed soil sampling) Invoice / payments controllers, Training and Coaching would also be applicable. As well as Project Managers, Contracts, Accounts, and Commercial positions forming the focus post decommissioning.
In many competitor organisations to Petroplan, recruitment consultants have dual responsibility for both recruitment and contractor management. At Petroplan there is an expert team dedicated solely to contractor mobilisation and support – resulting in the highly personalised and efficient services for which we are renowned, and freeing our recruiters up to focus on securing the best talent for our clients.
Petroplan’s contractor support package is designed to minimise administrative distractions, allowing contractors to focus on their assignment. Depending on the contractual agreement and the client’s specific requirements, any combination of services may form part of our contractor management provision, for example: contract drafting and negotiation, pre-assignment briefings, mobilisation travel and accommodation, training re-validation and ongoing contract administration – to name just a few.
In line with our culture of continuous improvement Petroplan recently implemented a new Contractor Timesheet and Expense Management system that allows the online submission of monthly or bi-weekly expenses, with automated approval and invoicing processes.
If your business has a North Sea decommissioning project on the horizon or indeed you are a professional looking to be represented by a specialist recruiter, get in touch with Suzanne Cameron [email protected] at our Aberdeen office Regent House, 36 Regent Quay, Aberdeen, AB11 5BE and +44 1224 536210
Due to being the fifth and fourth largest producer of oil and gas respectively, Canada has been providing hundreds of thousands of jobs to people from across the globe for decades, fueling its own economy in the process. The last 3 years has seen over $65 billion taken out of Canada’s oil and gas industry due to a decline in capital investment and plummeting crude oil prices, resulting in extreme cost-cutting, mass job losses and the cancellation of dozens of projects. Sixty-five percent of oil and gas companies have reduced their staff, resulting in approximately 100,000 workers being made redundant.
Many skilled oil and gas workers have relocated abroad or to new states in search of work, not only due to redundancy, but also to the collapse of oil and gas training programs which could have provided them with the retraining for related jobs. Any new investment, whether project- or technology-related has therefore followed them. Job creation in this sector has been tight throughout Canada.
’The suicide rate in Alberta climbs 30% in wake of mass oil patch layoffs’ CBC News, December 2015
‘Saskatchewan, another energy-dependent region, has a higher rate, and it’s seen 19% more suicides this year’ The Guardian, December 2015
By the end of 2015, requests to the Calgary Distress Centre for counselling services had increased by 80% according to counsellor, David Kirby (CBC News, 2015). He claims the issues people are facing are vast, including substance abuse, financial collapse, anxiety, depression and relationship conflict. For those lucky enough to still be in employment, longer working hours are causing high levels of stress and fears that complaints will result in their lay-off too.
According to the Scottish Trades Union Congress, the oil and gas crisis in Scotland has “critically undermined rig safety, as workers fear reporting issues in case it results in job loss, causing serious health and safety implications – and there is fear a similar issue could be uncovered in the Canadian industry. As in Canada, workers are facing redundancy, shift pattern changes, wage reductions and loss of colleagues, and are being expected to take on their work.
We caught up with David Kirby recently to talk about the impact of job loss on mental health, how job loss can affect the family unit, and the work of the Calgary Distress Centre.
“In general our agency has seen about a 15% increase in service use over the past two years that we relate to the recession and impacts of it in the energy sector in Calgary. Certainly, we’ve had many more calls related to resources for emergency financial assistance to pay for rents, mortgages, utility bills, and even to put food on the table. The amount of suffering created by the recession and sector slowdown in Calgary and across our province has been unfathomable. Anecdotally, we can say that this is certainly the worst we ever seen it locally.”
Commenting on how the Distress Centre helps those facing job loss to cope, David said:
“In general we encourage people to reach out and talk to someone (i.e. our 24-hour crisis lines) when they’re feeling stressed about their future. We know that the sooner people reach out for help, the more likely the psychological impacts can be lessened. We encourage people affected by job loss to use their support system, focus on what they can control, develop an action plan for creating some positive change, and use the time to evaluate their values, priorities, and focus time and energy on self-care.
Many people find the prospect of having to ‘start over’ very much intimidating and difficult to cope with. We often encourage people to use the time to reconnect with their values and reconsider other hopes and dreams they may have had at earlier points in their lives, essentially trying to turn a negative into a positive.”
“Unless you have strong mediatory factors in place – such as good supervisors and HR support, chronic stress can be very negative, not just for the individual but also the organisation.”Margaret Crichton, Managing Director of People Factor Consultants (PFC)
Fortunately, the Canadian oil and gas industry is forecast to recover this year. Employment will grow steadily between 2017 and 2020 as new investment is placed in projects including a large two-train LNG facility in British Columbia. Market prices will increase from US$40 per barrel to US$71 with profits reaching 2010’s level of $13 billion by 2021. This is clearly positive, but because of the effects of the recent downturn, employers should put preventative measures in place and provide support for those showing signs of stress.
‘’5,200 wells are expected to be drilled across the country this year, an increase of 975 wells projected in November’’ Calgary Herald
Downturn relocations, baby-boomer retirements and technological advancements are causing an urgent need to appeal to younger workers from across the globe. With recent mental health campaigns such as Canada’s, ‘Not Myself Today’ and England’s, ‘Time To Change’ the younger generation are becoming more aware of its potential impact, explaining their greater likelihood to take part. They are also expecting a more open approach to mental health, demanding their employers account for this. Therefore, oil and gas companies should act, not only to attract new workers, but to give much needed support to their current ones.
When you’re living with mental illness, external circumstances that would normally be stressful for anybody are even more stressful. Job loss and unemployment certainly fall into that category. When faced with such a scary situation, it is more important than ever to make sure you’re using healthy coping mechanism, sticking to a routine as much as possible and staying productive, maintaining any treatment and also seeking additional help if necessary. Counseling and therapy can be beneficial in particularly difficult situations, especially as a supplement to other treatment methods and self-care.
Chelsea Ricchio, Communications Manager,Healthy Minds Canada
In recent years, there have been examples of the industry becoming more aware of mental health and its importance, Continue reading “Mental Health in the Oil & Gas Industry”