May 2014

Hiring challenges are constantly evolving in today’s candidate-driven market

As the industry continues to invest unprecedented capital and time into projects, both onshore and offshore, the competition for talent to support these global projects has also increased.      

Melanie Cruthirds / World Oil
Fig. 1. In today’s market, hiring professionals cited gender and age diversity, training and succession planning as core challenges. Photo credit: Harald Pettersen, Statoil.


As the industry continues to invest unprecedented capital and time into projects, both onshore and offshore, the competition for talent to support these global projects has also increased. With such a wide variety of developments underway, it is increasingly difficult to locate skilled, experienced talent to fill such niche technical roles. Factors, such as a shifting supply of qualified workers, increases in compensation expectations and expanding global competition for talent, mean that the methods and tools in a hiring manager’s repertoire are evolving constantly. From keen social media practices, to developing and maintaining a positive public image with the global workforce, today’s hiring professionals are adding expertise, to keep pace with the skilled candidates that are increasingly rare. Even when attempting to recruit new-to-the-industry professionals, the most successful companies are more and more careful about delivering on the promises they make during the hiring process, and beyond.

The Recruitment 2014 supplement addresses the ways in which companies are seeking and retaining top talent, around the world, as well as a few best practices for professionals looking to establish, or continue, careers in upstream oil and gas. Professionals from operators, service companies and recruiting firms have provided their input, with points of view from traditionally strong markets, like the U.S. and the UK, as well as growth-oriented regions, like Australia, Brazil, China and India. Timely topics like LNG development, succession planning, gender diversity, social media outreach and competitive compensation, are also discussed in this year’s supplement.


From Australia, with its recent LNG successes, to the UK, where the future of the North Sea remains uncertain, qualified professionals are needed to ensure that projects are delivered on time, and, more importantly, safely and under budget. Especially in Australia, the demand for skilled workers greatly outweighs supply, and, while the oil and gas industry is adept at quantifying technical risk and safety, the people element has proved much harder to measure. Even as firms attempt to attract and retain top talent from outside of the region, several major projects, many in the LNG space, have been plagued by cost overruns, delays and cancellations. Finding a way to employ the right people, at the right time, will be an important part of the oil and gas equation in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

In another hemisphere, restrictive immigration policies in place in the UK have resulted in a market in which qualified workers in engineering and science disciplines are unable to remain in the country, or have difficulty returning. This atmosphere makes it increasingly challenging for companies to help close the growing skills gap. If firms can learn to successfully navigate the complex world of immigration regulation, or if the government revises or relaxes its visa terms, the UK region might fare better, as it aims to add qualified professionals equipped to meet its most pressing industrial challenges.


Although the industry has been aware of the impending crew change for several years, many companies are now experiencing the skills shortage more acutely, and attempting to strategize effective succession planning, in a variety of ways, before it is too late. In addition to addressing the need for talent to fill vacant roles left by retirees, organizations today are simultaneously seeking a proportionate representation of women at each level of responsibility. Regardless of age or gender, companies are refining their training and development programs, to best meet the needs of their employees, as well as the needs relating to active projects. wo-box_blue.gif

About the Authors
Melanie Cruthirds
World Oil
Melanie Cruthirds
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