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Last Updated: June 25, 2016
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Career Development

According to a recent Twitter poll conducted by Rigzone, a majority of energy professionals believe they can enjoy a long career in the oil and gas sector despite the current downturn.

In one of five polls conducted 54% of respondents stated they could “enjoy a long and rewarding career in oil and gas”, with 35% agreeing and 19% strongly agreeing. Leaving 46% who do not think they will have the option to succeed in the sector. This relatively even split reflects the disharmony over the future of the sector, however the figures are still more positive than many had imagined.

This positivity in the current environment is likely to come from those age old oil and gas sayings; “it’s a cyclical market”, “the market will bounce back stronger”, “the upturn is just around the corner”. Despite this seemingly endless dip in oil prices, those eternal optimists of the sector are of course right.

However, to quote another typical oil and gas market saying “only the strongest will survive”, it seems that many in the sector may not have confidence that their company will endure, or that they may not survive cuts within their company. In fact 54% of respondents claim they have “considered leaving the oil & gas industry due to the current downturn”. This staggering figure for one of the world’s biggest industries shows the severity of the situation facing the sector.

Furthermore, in another poll, 56% of respondents agreed that “professionals in the Oil industry who have been made redundant are unlikely to return to sector”. Analyse these statistics more deeply and we can come to the conclusion that when the inevitable upturn does come about, there will be a massive skills gap to replace as production once again ramps up.

Perhaps unsurprisingly 79% of respondents agreed that “oil & gas companies, despite making redundancies, should still actively recruit graduates”. Showing a deep understanding by those currently in the sector, and potentially facing redundancies, that recovery of the industry will depend on fresh blood coming in now. Waiting until oil prices have risen will only leave oil and gas firms trying to push graduates into a skills gap they are not ready to fill.

This predictable problem however, is not just the responsibility of oil and gas company recruitment. Those companies rely on the availability of talent graduating from suitable fields in major universities. The last of polls asked if “universities are doing a good job of graduating skilled & qualified professionals to join the energy sector?”, to which a significant 55% of respondents disagreed.

Redundancies are an inevitable part of a downturn; workers in the oil and gas industry know the risks and choose to take them for the undoubted benefits. However, planning for the future is also imperative for the success of the sector moving forward. Producers, service companies and academic institutions, all have their part to play in giving young people the opportunity to work in the sector and help them understand that now is the best time to plan for a prosperous career in oil and gas.

What are your thoughts about the current state of the Oil and Gas industry workforce? Do you concur with the feedback from the participants of the poll?

Share your comments with us? 

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