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Home / Issue Archive / 2006 / August #8 / Career in Oil and Gas: Trends and Opportunities

№ 8 (August 2006)

Career in Oil and Gas: Trends and Opportunities

This article combines experience and observations of the labor market tendencies, gathered both by recruitment specialists at ANCOR Energy Services. The presented data is based on careful analysis of questionnaires and surveys completed by job applicants upon consulting the company.

By Konstantin Borisov

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The reasons behind investigation of this issue were some considerable changes and interesting tendencies that could be observed in the Russian oil and gas labor market. The "oil and gas market" in this case means oilfield and trunk pipelines operators, service and building companies, and equipment suppliers.

Hopefully, this review will be able to answer many readers' questions, such as "What future employment prospects do I have in my profession?", "How do I chose an employer correctly?", or "How do I advance my career at home and abroad?"

Firstly, let's focus on the general number of vacancies and the total number of job applicants on today's labor market in Russia. This image demonstrates an increasing number of job offers from employers, compared with the diminishing number of available applicants for these jobs (the latter may be a result of demographic shifts). A noteworthy date is 1980 -- the last year in which the birth rate in the USSR was high. Thereafter, birth rates steadily decreased, and continue to do so to this day. Those born in the early 1980s graduated from colleges and found first jobs two or three years ago. Up until then, companies' HR departments complained about the lack of experienced job applicants, but simultaneously noted the sufficient amount of recent graduates on the market. Today's status quo is different: graduates are fewer in numbers and their salary and job requirement are tougher, while the average education level has also grown.

Provided that the economy grows and birth-rates continue decreasing, the situation displayed on Chart 1 will prevail on the future labor market. Two conclusions can be drawn based on this chart: managers will face a tough time finding employees as hiring becomes more complicated, while applicants will dictate their own terms.

Particularly, let's consider the oil and gas labor market. When the number of clients' recruitment requests in 2000 is compared with 2006, a significant increase becomes evident. This primarily indicates that companies are sensing competition in rare specialists' recruitment, thus becoming more active in attracting candidates. In the past six years, this caused many companies to staff their HR departments with recruitment professionals who specialize in finding potential job candidates.

Likewise, it's important to note oil and gas job applicants' behavioral and motivational changes (see the insert "Candidates Expectations"). If in 2000 the most significant motivating factors were company size and nationality (western companies were viewed as the most attractive employers), in 2006 "respectful attitude and good working conditions" were added to the list, as applicants began to value their abilities and work more. At the same time, company nationality is no longer on the list, signifying that Russian companies' image has improved considerably in the eyes of candidates, thanks to governmental support of the industry and a general increase in salaries.

Answering the pertinent question of whether job opportunities aboard attract Russian specialists, let's revert to statistics. In the past six years, interest in working abroad has generally been diminishing. This phenomenon is likely be due to two factors - an increasing number of attractive vacancies in Russia and greater salaries, as well as political instability of the world's oil production centers, such as Nigeria, Syria, and Iraq.

The conclusion that can be derived from an analysis of the above-mentioned factors and tendencies can serve as a recommendation to hiring managers and employers. Rapt attention should be paid to the company image and working conditions, and to the particular position's appeal to candidates. In some cases efforts should be concentrated on staffing and retention policies. This issue will only gain urgency with time.
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