North American oil and gas industry has trouble finding workers

The US oil and gas industry will be hiring in the coming months a new survey shows, with engineers at the top of the list of sought-after workers. Rigzone, a news, research and recruitment resource for the oil and gas industry, reports on the results of a national survey concerning the industry’s hiring intentions. Close to half of hiring managers plan to hire in the second half of 2013.

According to Rigzone, current market and economic conditions are considered favourable for hiring by 48 per cent of recruiters in the industry. Just 8 per cent said that they would be decreasing their hiring activities.

Engineers are in big demand in the US oil and gas industry. In Canada, a shortage of younger workers to replace those who retire is creating challenges for the industry.

The most wanted category of workers by far is engineers of various kinds. The president of Rigzone, Paul Caplan, said in a release that the results of the survey are “encouraging” for oil and gas professionals. While overall hiring in the industry has been “tempered” in recent months, when it comes to engineers he would “ratchet that description up several notches to flat-out, unbridled optimism.”

The top ten positions wanted are:

• Mechanical Engineers

• Design Engineers

• Petroleum Engineers

• Electrical Engineers

• Reservoir Engineers

• Pipeline Engineers

• Health, Safety & Environment Managers

• Finance & Accounting talent

• Production Engineers

• Process Engineers

The majority of employers (55 per cent) are expecting to hire more full-time workers, as opposed to contract workers.

Despite the increased demand for workers, there has not been a corresponding increase in the number of applicants, according to Rigzone. One-third of hiring managers said it was taking long to fill positions than it did last year, mainly because of a lack of available talent.

Those who do apply are looking for more money, though: more than half of recruiters said that candidates are demanding more money than they were just six months ago.

In Canada, a recent survey by Hays Oil and Gas, a Canadian recruitment firm, found that the industry in this country also suffers from a lack of technical talent. Here the problem seems to be the industry’s inability to attract younger workers, despite paying high salaries. Whereas the number of younger workers (under the age of 35) in Canada’s oil and gas sector was just 18 per cent, that age group makes up 33 per cent of workers in other oil-producing countries. Many workers are approaching retirement, and without new talent to replace them, the industry faces big challenges as it seeks to expand production in coming years.


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