Wood on Hiring Spree
Energy services firm Wood is embarking on a major drive to expand the number of skilled trades and operators employed by the company in the Americas. Moreover, the company anticipates long-term opportunities and new horizons for in-house talent, by creating rewarding, dynamic and well-paid career opportunities for its frontline workforce.
“Our strategy is centered on becoming a premier employer of skilled trades in the U.S.,” said Chuck Kemper, Wood’s President of People and Organization, adding that he is seeing particularly strong demand for electricians, pipefitters, welders and ironworkers. “We are trying to show prospective employees that Wood is a company you can have a lifelong career with rather than just the experience of working on a single contract or project. We believe that many of our people won’t have to experience as many gaps in employment if they choose a career here.”
From his perspective in Europe, Wood’s Project Manager Daniel Bordier reports an ongoing need across craft and trade specialties, specifically in supervisory, quality assurance/quality control, safety, civil, mechanical, painting and insulation and clerical roles.
“Highly qualified people are important to us, in all areas,” said Bordier.
Wood’s hiring initiative stems from an abundance of current and anticipated greenfield and brownfield projects across the oil and gas, power, process, industrial and chemicals sectors in a wide variety of regions.
“From Alaska to Brazil, we have opportunities,” said Kemper. “We are growing. We are winning contracts and working with some of the world’s largest blue-chip companies on some of the most exciting and game changing projects. We are regularly hiring. We will hire thousands in the next twelve months.”
One of the largest projects Wood is working on is the Mega Methanol plant that Yuhuang Chemical Industries Inc. and Koch Methanol Investments, LLC are developing in St. James, La. Elsewhere on the U.S. Gulf Coast, Wood’s backlog includes numerous maintenance, operations, modifications and other brownfield projects in Texas and Louisiana. The firm is experiencing its strongest growth in the Permian Basin, working on pipeline, power and even solar projects. Additional U.S. project sites are in Alaska, the Powder River Basin, the Midcontinent, the Bakken, offshore Gulf of Mexico and the Southeast U.S.
“There’s lots of geographic opportunity working for us,” said Kemper, adding that Wood often secures repeat projects in the above regions. “If, say, an electrician wants to work on the Gulf Coast for a while and then go on rotation in Alaska’s North Slope, they can do that. It’s really interesting for someone who wants to work in different environments.”
Bordier, who has been a Wood employee for 23 years now, concurs with Kemper’s assessment, adding that opportunities extend beyond the Americas.
“Wood has a large footprint around the world, with plenty of opportunities if you are willing to travel, learn different languages and see how work is done in other parts of the world,” he said.
In addition to geographic diversity, Wood can offer opportunities for career advancement, said Kemper.
“We have 6,000-plus staff in skilled trades in the U.S alone,” he noted. “We can point to a number of folks in roles – such as foremen, supervisors, project managers and construction managers – who have risen up through the trades to senior leadership roles in what is now a multi-national corporation. Lots of moving around geographically is required, but if you stick around and are willing to learn, develop and grow there are plentiful opportunities.”
Kemper added that Wood actively encourages employees to develop their skills throughout their careers.
“For me, as a career HR professional, I have come to learn that the most valuable and deeply embedded learning comes on the job,” Kemper said, noting that such learning environments include fabrication shops and greenfield and brownfield projects.
Bordier echoed the sentiment that hands-on, on-the-job training is invaluable.
“I think peer-to-peer learning is one of the best ways to learn another trade,” Bordier said. “For me, working for Wood has been very rewarding. I have the opportunity to travel overseas, move vertically in my career and meet and work with some great people.”
To be sure, Wood’s People and Organization unit offers employees a full slate of formal employee training programs as well. With National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)-accredited staff on its payroll, Wood is increasingly leveraging this in-house training resource for craft professions such as electricians and welders.
“We are in the middle of expanding our NCCER partnership and will be doing more in the future as we add more employees,” said Kemper. “We are also building partnerships with trade schools all over the country and seeking to do the same with many of our country’s most admired military schools.”
Kemper also offered advice regarding how craft and trades pros can most favorably position themselves for opportunities with Wood.
“If you are an experienced skilled trades person, get your NCCER certification under your belt and listed in your credentials,” Kemper said. “Because the needs in the U.S. far outweigh just labor supply, folks with that type of certification are highly desirable.”
Moreover, Kemper encourages individuals interested in landing a position with Wood to create a profile using an online recruiting tool on the company’s website and applying for relevant opportunities through that channel.
“We have worked hard to get as many openings as possible on Wood’s careers site, it’s also a great place to start looking at some of the jobs we do and learning from other team Wood employees,” he said.
For more information, visit https://careers.woodplc.com/.