Oil and Gas Recruiting to Rise in Coming Months

Oil and Gas Recruiting to Rise in Coming Months
Rigzone's recent survey finds that oil and gas recruiting is expected to increase in coming months, on the heels of a better market climate.

Oil and gas recruiters across the world are expecting to recruit more in coming months, according to a recent survey by Rigzone.

Rigzone’s global survey targeting oil and gas recruiters and hiring managers—administered Sept. 25 to Oct. 16—yielded 77 completed responses from those actively working as recruiters in the industry.

Of the respondents, 83 percent said they recruit for upstream; 49 percent recruit for midstream and 32 percent recruit for downstream.

Seventy percent of respondents indicated that they expected to recruit more in the next six months.

This comes after years of recruiting activity that was muted due to the industry’s downturn. During that time, companies were focused on staying afloat while slashing capital expenditures – which often included headcount.

Sixty-five percent of respondents said they recruited more in first half of 2018 than in second half of 2017. Another 21 percent said they recruited about the same in both halves.

Now Hiring: Engineers and Technicians

With recruiting on the rise, the next logical question is which positions are in highest demand.

Overall, respondents said they were seeing the most hiring demand for the following positions:

  • Safety Engineer (28.57%)
  • Procurement and Construction: Supply Chain (22.08%)
  • Electrical Technician (22.08%)
  • Mechanical Technician (20.78%)
  • Mechanical Engineer (19.48%)
  • Production Operator (19.48%)
  • Petroleum Engineer (18.18%)
  • Wellsite Supervisor (16.88%)
  • Electrical Engineer (16.88%)

However, most recruiters aren’t looking for entry-level workers. Nor are they looking to hire veteran workers.

According to our survey, 42 percent of respondents are hiring for workers with 5-10 years of experience. Twenty-nine percent are looking at candidates who have 10-20 years of experience.

Twenty-seven percent of recruiters are looking for entry-level candidates (0-5 years of experience) while just 3 percent are recruiting for candidates with more than 20 years of experience.

There is an exception to this among respondents from Africa, with 64 percent saying they’re looking for workers with 0-5 years of experience.  

Recruiting Challenges

Oil and gas has—and always will be—a boom-bust industry. Recruiting will always follow suit.

In early 2017, recruiters expressed to Rigzone that hiring had begun to pick up, but there was concern around talent that had left the industry during the downturn.

According to respondents, that’s still a real challenge today.

When asked what the biggest challenge facing oil and gas recruiters today, some clear themes emerged. Namely, the challenges were around skills shortages/lack of experienced candidates; companies unable to meet workers’ salary expectations and slow hiring processes.

Below are excerpts from some respondents:

  • Matching candidate salary expectations
  • The time it takes for a company to hire … companies suggest they’re in a hurry to fill the roles, but after the interview process may take several weeks before an offer is made
  • Ageing workforce + reduction of graduate/apprentice schemes during the downturn
  • Finding candidates with operational experience and below 60 years of age
  • Because projects have slowed down significantly, it can be challenging to recruit someone who is used to making a certain amount of money
  • Folks who have been out of the market are not up-to-date on certifications required for industry
  • The salary expectation – candidates are seeking what they think they should earn vs. what the available resources are and budget
  • Processing large numbers of applications for roles to get to a sensible shortlist (3-4 candidates)

Despite challenges recruiters are facing in the industry today, many are still optimistic. And they understand the ‘ebb and flow’ nature of the business.

According to the survey, more than one-third (36 percent) of respondents described the current state of industry recruiting as “variable.” Another 31 percent described it as “steady.”

About 16 percent were a bit more optimistic, using “thriving” to describe recruiting in the industry. Conversely, 12 percent and 5 percent said “stagnant” and “nonexistent” respectively.


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.

Mike  |  December 04, 2018
"....just 3 percent are recruiting for candidates with more than 20 years of experience." It makes no sense. Since when does experience go against you? Almost every week I read that companies can't find enough qualified people. We're here, we're willing and able.
Rick  |  November 22, 2018
Don't worry, the coming oil price crash will ensure companies won't have a headache regarding needing more people. Shall we start the countdown for the coming layoffs?
J Lambert  |  November 14, 2018
You should up your age limit to rehire laid off good hands that pass physicals. If you don't there will be accidents. Everyone always discriminates on age. It was admitted as being a problem in the article. That is unfair. These peoples lives were turned upside down. Careers gone overnight without warning. Doesn't anyone CARE about loyal employees anymore ? I sure hope SO because my husband lost his career on deep water drilling rigs 3 years ago for the 2nd time since 2010 and he REALLY wants to work again. He's welding/ his trade prior to working his way to ballast control room operator. He's ready to run crews and get back to oil.
Andy Bush  |  November 09, 2018
Funny they are looking for non-entry level but experienced workers. There are relatively very few of those in the oil industry seeing as many got laid off within a few years of joining the industry and had to go to other industries..
Richard Molyneux  |  November 09, 2018
I think there are many great experienced people who would love to be working again given the opportunity. However they are never considered due to being victimised for there age. Not even if they are medically fit with many years of experience.

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