March 26, 2014 11:23 ET

Oil and Gas Industry Must Collaborate to Solve Skills Shortage According to Latest Workforce Survey

Findings Provide a Stark Warning That the Skills Gap Is Becoming a Skills Crisis

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwired - Mar 26, 2014) -  The oil and gas industry must collaborate more to boost recruitment and employee retention in order to solve the current critical skills shortage, according to a new report published today by, and Air Energi.

The Global Oil & Gas Workforce Survey 2014 documents the views of more than 500 professionals from across the supply chain and spanning every major region on the industry's most pressing recruitment questions, and underscored the need for oil and gas companies to work together to share information, including data about which roles are most critical to operations, and which skills are most sought after.

More than half of survey participants identified engineers as the most in-demand job role in the industry today, followed by project managers, drilling, contract administrators and geologists -- and 80 percent of survey participants faced difficulties filling roles due to the skills shortage in the last year.

"Companies don't have a good track record of collaborating with each other when it comes to addressing the root cause of the skills shortage," Mark Guest, Managing Director, said. "If we are going to see a real and positive change in the skills gap the industry as a whole must work together on the development of education, training and local content initiatives."

A rise in both rates and salaries has made employee retention challenging. For example, in the Middle East, increased competition and the tight margins for work has presented an issue for companies both in terms of attracting new talent, and retaining existing talent. Although it is difficult to place a figure on the impact that attrition has on any individual project, this is perhaps becoming one of the key drivers in budgetary over-expenditure and project delays.

"The oil and gas industry is powered by a highly mobile and skilled workforce," said Duncan Gregson, Air Energi CEO. "Experienced professionals are extremely sought after, highly remunerated and offered excellent benefits. The critical issue for the industry in 2014 will be retaining staff, which is one of the key drivers in budget-overspend and schedule delays. We must, as an industry, look to collaboration as a solution if we are to solve our on-going problems."

Training is also essential to solving the problem. The survey, which highlights critical gaps in the industry's workforce, also evaluated the use of internal training to boost the skills of the workforce. Three-quarters of Global Oil & Gas Workforce Survey 2014 respondents confirmed that their organization offers internal training, although 29 percent of these admitted that there is not a full selection of training available.

"We are beginning to see projects being scrutinized for cost effectiveness and viability," Gregson added. "At the moment we are operating in a healthy market, however the danger is always that a drop is just around the corner, which could be a major blow to industry training budgets which are, regrettably, often the first to be cut."

The Global Oil & Gas Workforce Survey 2014 identifed several opportunities where the oil and gas industry needs to expand, hiring new talent that can be trained and retained. Survey results showed that in North America, 45 percent of respondents predict hiring numbers of permanent employees will increase, and 53 percent expect employee rates and salaries to rise. This workforce increase is partially attributed to the boom in domestic production in the United States. Over the past 12 months the United States has experienced its domestic production exceeding imports for the first time in 20 years.

High demand for jobs is not only an issue in North America, and investing in the millennial generation may be a global trend. There is an anticipated increase in project activity in the Middle East, East Africa and Australia, and globally, 69 percent of survey participants believe that more must be done to promote the opportunities within the industry to younger generations.

"2014 must be the year where the industry seriously looks at the investment it is making in securing the future workers for the industry," Guest concluded. "The millennial generation holds the key to the future success of the oil and gas industry -- attracting and retaining them is essential. The very nature of our work means that both and Air Energi are immersed entirely in the oil and gas process. Through our work with operators and service companies we have built up strong links and a broad knowledge base that allows us to provide the industry with the most complete information when it comes to recruitment."

The full report, which shows results from a global perspective and then broken down by region, can be downloaded at

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