Rigzone Employee Survey Lists Workers' Favorite Oilfield Service Companies

Rigzone Employee Survey Lists Workers' Favorite Oilfield Service Companies
As Rigzone releases data on the oilfield services firms energy professionals want to work for, we find that a dearth of oilfield services workers may slow ramp up in activity within the sector.

While many shared their views on which oilfield service companies top the list of where to work in Rigzone’s inaugural Ideal Employer Survey (IES), the sector itself may struggle to rebuild its workforce.

With relative stability in crude oil prices at or near $50 per barrel, analysts predict that soon enough, North American production will surge. By mid-November, the rig count had increased for the 21st week of the previous 24, spurring expectations that drilling would soon resume in earnest.

For its first Ideal Employer Survey, Rigzone questioned 8,466 oil and gas professionals around the globe about what matters most to them when choosing where to work. Among the data gathered, participants revealed the oilfield service companies believed to have the most to offer employees. And an increase in drilling will likely an increase in rig workers at those companies, which could be a problem for the embattled oilfield services (OFS) sector where more than 150,000 workers were lost to the commodity price downturn.

But IES results on the OFS sector indicate that companies most in demand are also among those leading the way toward rebuilding the workforce. Halliburton Co. and Schlumberger Ltd. took the first and second place on the Ideal Employer Survey’s top OFS companies list. And, of those currently looking for new workers among Rigzone’s readers, both Halliburton and Schlumberger are in the top 10. Oceaneering, which took the No. 10 slot on the IES survey, is also seeking staff at Rigzone.

And filling these jobs will be critical toward ushering in an industry recovery.

“One of the speedbumps in the pace of the recovery in North America is the fact the service sector has really been in the front line of layoffs,” said Andrew Slaughter, executive director at the Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions. “That’s going to dictate the pace of new drilling because they don’t all come back.”

Brian Williams, managing director at Carl Marks Advisors, said oilfield service companies laid-off 80 percent of the sector’s workforce. But with a market recovering on the horizon, building a workforce has taken the place of reducing it.

“A lot of the service companies I meet with … they’re pondering how they’re going to attract labor back to the oil patch because so much of it has gone away,” he said. “So how to get them back – how much you’re going to have to pay and how much it costs to train to ramp them up – is going to be a much bigger issue than continued layoffs.”

Brian Williams
Brian Williams, Managing Director, Carl Marks Advisors
Managing Director, Carl Marks Advisors

Energy fellow and economist Ed Hirs at the University of Houston said it will take time to ramp up production, but it will also take time to find workers to fill the void left by the massive layoffs.

“You can’t flip a switch and get all of them to come back with a little modest uptick in drilling,” Hirs said. “Service companies are having a hard time staffing the rigs and their equipment.

These are skilled jobs, these are smart people. They can go find jobs someplace else. As we learned in the ‘80s through those two downturns, once somebody leaves the patch, they’re gone.”

Petroleum specialists are more prone to returning to the industry, he said. But many field workers likely have found other jobs that make use of skills similar to those used in the oilfield.

Also, some workers who relocated for jobs in remote plays such as the Bakken in North Dakota, will have left the area when the work dried up.

“It’s going to be harder to get them back. At that level, you’re talking about training up new people, which again, takes time,” Slaughter said. “Expectations for a very fast ramp-up in new drilling – faster than we’ve had in the last six months – I think [are] going to be a bit challenging.”


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An award-winning journalist, Deon has reported on energy, business and politics for almost 20 years.


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Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.
Jim Dore | Dec. 13, 2016
We finally see an article about human capital and I applaud our writer. What may be added is this. Each employee returning will have to go through extensive safety training/drug testing/skills refreshers/etc. and that takes time and investment. Another issue from the Major Operators is dealing with Short Service Employees (SSEs). It will be interesting to see which waives this self imposed guideline and which will not. As far as equipment is concerned, many if not all of the stacked rigs will have to have equipment re-certified. Items such as cranes/wire and other support equipment will need to be re-tested and certified prior to deployment. Hes right, it will take some time to bridge the gap between safe work, finding employees and training. No light switch in the O&G business.

Mahendra Parmar | Dec. 12, 2016
Well I know people who want to go back in the Oil Industry work force, but are still struggling to get a break. I wouldnt mind if given an opportunity to work for Halliburton again, even at an entry level. Best Regards.

Pat Dorsey | Dec. 12, 2016
Just like in the 80s and the 90s when the oil field started coming back, safety was the biggest concern. Most of the workers had never been offshore and it was a whole new world for them. With all the new regulations in place, it is going to take 6 months before a new hire will be able to actually work offshore. In the old days, you just threw the new workers to the wolves in hopes that they worked out and made it back safely. Now there are required safety classes to take and if the oil companies dont start hiring and training now, they will be behind as will their projects.

Simon Philips | Dec. 12, 2016
This is an issue at all levels of the industry. In its analysis of the Skills Gap in the industry earlier this year, Warren Business Consulting pointed out that after all the layoffs, any recovery would run into problems given that the lay-offs also coincided with the Great Crew Change plus the reputational issues the industry faces among younger workers due to the climate change controversies. In many ways this is reminiscent of the investment banking industry where staff are rapidly laid off n a downturn, only to be re-hired at greater expense when recovery comes. As Rigzone accurately reports elsewhere, staff - and particularly Millennials - respond well to investment in their own careers, whether thats a well structured career plan or an actively funded training program to develop their skills.


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