UK Oil Workers Browsing Transferable Sectors Suffer Severe Discrimination

UK Oil Workers Browsing Transferable Sectors Suffer Severe Discrimination
A significant number of oil workers feel they have been discriminated against by other sectors.

Almost three quarters of UK oil and gas workers have felt discriminated against when trying to find work in a different sector, according to a Rigzone poll on social media platform Twitter.

Seventy-four percent of the 72 respondents in the poll said they felt they had been discriminated against due to their industry background.

“Nobody wanted to hire us during the recession because they thought we would quit when oil turned around,” said one participant in response to the poll.

Earlier this year, Aberdeenshire East Member of Scottish Parliament (MSP) Gillian Martin wrote to UK Employment Minister Damian Hinds asking for an examination into how widespread this trend had become, after seeing documentary evidence of some level of discrimination.

“After the initial story was covered in the media, I was inundated with correspondence from people who said they had found job applications they felt they were suitable for, which specified ‘no oil and gas’ workers should apply,” Martin told Rigzone.

“They also found when they did go for job interviews, they were told they would simply return to the sector once it picked up again. They were never given the chance to demonstrate their willingness to move into other sectors,” she added.

A Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) spokesperson confirmed receipt of Martin’s letter earlier this year and told Rigzone that it was determined to hold on to the talent that had been released from the oil and gas sector.

Since that response, the UK Minister for Small Business, Consumers & Corporate Responsibility, Margot James MP, said officials from the BEIS had spoken to local JobCentre Plus officials who confirmed examples of discrimination, but considered them to be isolated instances.

The practice of discrimination against oil workers is ill-advised, said industry body Oil & Gas UK’s Chief Executive, Deirdre Michie, adding that staff in the industry have much to offer.

“Our people are both skilled and experienced and have much to offer other sectors and employers across the UK,” Michie said.

The Importance of Addressing Oil Worker Discrimination in the UK

It’s important to tackle discrimination against workers with an oil and gas industry background because talent which has been made redundant from the sector cannot simply be left with no opportunity for progression in other industries, Martin said.

“It would be a travesty if workers find themselves blacklisted without opportunity to develop in another sector,” Martin stated.


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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.
CE | May. 15, 2017
I currently work in the water sector, we receive a lot of CVs from oil and gas people these days, but simply can't meet the salary expectations. For example, a graduate joined us with 2 years experience in O&G. They were expecting to match their 30k+ salary, and were also keen to take on overtime too. Our graduate salary was 24k with no opportunity for overtime. I also recommended a former colleague, whose experience was extremely relevant, but my manager just couldn't stretch to his wages either. The concern is that the wages will be a primary driver if the industry picks up, as workers will want to return to the larger salaries.

Milenko | May. 14, 2017
So what? Like oil & gas Industry doesn't discriminate? Took me 4 years to transfer to oil & gas from environmental area, four years of receiving rejection letters saying I'm not qualified, that I haven't got the right skill set etc. When you finally get in, I was provided with no training had to learn everything myself. Going offshore was impossible etc ... is that fair?

J | May. 10, 2017
discrimination also healthy here in the US too. Two of my fellow colleagues have been told they were suitably qualified but would not be hired because they were from the O&G industry and would return to it once it improves.

A | May. 10, 2017
I was made redundant two years ago from the Oil and Gas sector and totally agree, whenever I apply for Job Vacancies the fact that I was previously in Oil and Gas holds me back from being considered for the job. The companies that for some reason think the Oil and Gas Industry is going to pick are obviously Companies that dont know the Industry as this is not going to happen. Companies are not allowed to discriminate against Race or Disability so why should they be able to get away with this. I have only had two jobs in 25 years surely that shows that I am not a job hopper and committed. I am not going to waste my time nor an Employees by applying for a job that I am not 100% interested in or is not paying enough wages. Dont just look at my CV and see my previous employer was Oil and Gas, look at my skills and dedication, give me an interview and meet the person and you will see ex Oil and Gas people just want to work. This downturn does not just affect males and Offshore workers it also affects women.

Fahad Jahangir | May. 10, 2017
This insight is correct however one must also look at what jobs and at levels are being targeted by former oil workers. Working in one specific industry almost programmes an individual to work within the spheres of their job, role and industry. Employers are wary of this fact and will seek to actively filter out such applicants. Additionally, what skills are transferable between oil and other industry. Most layoffs have been in the offshore segment - one that required manual labour skills. How many of those skills can be transferred to a potential new opportunity. The phenomenon is similar to the collapse of coal and mining in the UK during the 80s where a significant portion of the labour force suddenly found themselves unemployed. Whilst government support should be forthcoming, one must do his/her part in upgrading their skill set to maintain relevance as an employable employee.

W | May. 10, 2017
Its not just the UK. I had several companies tell me the same thing here in the US. It is pretty closed minded to not want to take in folks from a different industry. We as an oilfield society have learned a lot from other industries including food manufacturing and the aerospace industry. I figure other industries might be able to learn a thing or two from us.

D Montgomery | May. 9, 2017
As a former Lead Process Engineer (Chartered Chemical Engineer) with over 20 years experience, I definitely feel discriminated against in the water and waste, chemical, pharmaceutical, and other sectors where chemical engineers are employed. This is based on actively seeking employment continuously since February 2016.


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