Recruitment trends in the Oil & Gas industry

11 Feb, 2014


The oil and gas industry is changing and these changes are shaping the challenges and opportunities for recruitment and training in the sector. Rigzone recently published a report highlighting the key recruiting trends for the US energy industry.

Industry growth

The oil and gas industry is experiencing a boom, particularly in the US, where crude production has risen by more than 50% in the past 5 years and demand for drilling operations exceeds the current supply of talent. Growth in the industry means that there must be sufficient talent to maintain it. According to the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, the industry’s skills gap is hindering growth in Scotland.

Skills shortage

Given its recent growth, the industry faces an even greater skills shortage. Worldwide, the oil and gas sector needs to recruit 120,000 new employees and employment of petroleum engineers is set to increase by 17% between 2010 and 2020. With the demand for skilled employees currently exceeding the supply, industry employers are looking for ways to attract and retain talent.

Ageing workforce

The global workforce is ageing and the oil and gas sector in particular is reliant on a workforce nearing retirement, with the current age of workers in the industry being 50. In addition, more than half of the current workforce is expected to retire within the next 5 years. Recruiting younger employees with the relevant skills and qualifications is becoming increasingly important. An Ernst & Young survey found that up to 90 percent of senior HR professionals from 22 of the major international oil and gas companies felt that the industry faced a huge shortage of fresh talent.


‘The offshore sector experienced 425 dangerous occurrences, including well incidents, in 2011/2012.’ Due to the prevalence of such incidents, health and safety has become an even more important focus for the sector, with training and the recruitment of HSE professionals playing a key part in efforts to promote safety and regulation compliance.


A focus on the training and development of personnel is essential in addressing these issues, both in terms of retaining talent and ensuring that new recruits have the appropriate skills. Given the current skills gap and the need to find fresh talent to fill the growing number of jobs in the sector, developing new talent and finding innovative ways of addressing the shortage is key. The industry has already been looking for new ways to bridge the gap, including recruiting and training employees from other industries such as the military.

Training is not only important for developing new employees. It is also essential when it comes to retaining existing employees through increasing their engagement and job satisfaction; a Society of Petroleum Engineers survey found that 53% of oil and gas workers would consider leaving an employer over lack of training.

Whether it’s recruiting new employees to bridge the skills gap or retaining and developing existing talent, training is hugely important for the oil and gas industry and the key to addressing many of the challenges it faces.