“This is visible evidence of strong, continued growth and, at the same time, a let-up in the frenzied pace of recruiting the industry has experienced in the last three years,” says the report, which synthesized responses from 6,500 energy professionals around the world.
Fewer energy professionals also reported being contacted by recruiters last year, contributing to an overall feeling that it is becoming more difficult to find work in oil and gas. During the last six months of 2012, 59 percent of participants in the Rigzone survey said a recruiter had reached out to them at least once. That’s a drop from the 76 percent who reported having at least one contact during the last half of 2011.
Of those calls, 86 percent came from recruiters looking to fill design and construction positions. The fewest survey participants, 49 percent, said they received calls for production work.
The drop-off could be due to shifts in the recruiting industry itself, according to experts in the field. As the oil and gas industry has boomed over the past few years, recruiters have rushed to service the business. Weaker players have been weeded out as the market stabilizes, said Mike Vineyard, president of Qualitec Consulting Group LP in Houston.
“When the recruiting business is good, we tend to attract some individuals that are just riding the boom, and when they see a slowdown, they go back to whatever they were doing prior,” he wrote in an email.
Chris Melillo, a Dallas recruiter, said he has noticed job seekers in oil and gas relying more on their personal networks, rather than recruiters, after they first break into the business.
Another factor that could be contributing to the trend shown in the Rigzone report is the dearth of midcareer oil and gas employees, said Melillo, who heads the energy practice for Kaye/Bassman International Corp. The oil and gas workforce is an aging one due to a downturn in the oil and gas market in the 1990s and a subsequent decline in petroleum engineering degree enrollment (EnergyWire, June 18, 2012). While there are now plenty of entry-level energy workers to cultivate, recruiters are encountering a shrinking pool of seasoned energy candidates to pursue for managerial roles.
As for industry employment, Melillo said some of his top clients are in the business of producing liquids rather than dry gas, which currently commands much lower prices. The former process relies more heavily on conventional, vertical well bores, rather than horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, which require larger crews.
Still, he said, there is no reason for job seekers to be pessimistic about their career prospects. He recommended that unsuccessful candidates broaden their skills and job searches to ensure they are not focusing on a stage of oil and gas that is petering out in their region. One such example is exploration work in mature energy fields, such as the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania.
“Barring any global socioeconomic confrontation, we’re not going to see a decrease in [jobs growth],” Melillo said. “Whether we increase or decrease production in the United States, this is not going to go away.”
About Kaye/Bassman Founded in 1981, Kaye/Bassman has grown to become the largest single-site executive search and recruitment firm in the United States with the simple mission of impacting companies and enhancing careers by providing the finest in professional, executive, technical and scientific search. Kaye/Bassman provides strategic recruiting and executive search solutions in over 20 industry practice areas including construction recruiting, healthcare recruiting, banking executive search, energy recruitment and many more. Next Level Recruiting Training, a recruiting training organization, Next Level Exchange, a recruiting training best practices information exchange, and Next Level Marketing Communications are also Kaye/Bassman companies.
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