Military Shift: Oil & Gas industry keen to recruit

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Oil & Gas industry keen to recruit, hire and train retired military personnel

All branches of the US military are very highly sought for positions with today’s leading energy companies. Oil and gas firms, in particular are aggressively recruiting, hiring and cross-training retired military servicemen and women, as well as reservists.

Ever-increasing demand for oil and gas globally puts the industry in a labor predicament. Companies must act now to fill vacancies, retain knowledge and skills from a graying workforce, as well as position the industry to continue pushing technological boundaries.

Despite grim economic and jobs news in the media, the petroleum industry is hiring – and military personnel are a hot commodity.

In fact, GI Jobs magazine recently published its annual list of 100 military-friendly employers, and energy firms ranked high among other business sectors. More than 20 percent of the companies were energy firms, including major energy corporations, oil and gas operators, oilfield services and technology firms, and offshore rig contractors.

Dedicated Efforts

Due to a need for a qualified, safety-minded and dedicated workforce, the petroleum industry is turning to retiring military personnel and reservists.

In fact, the American Petroleum Institute has pioneered a program to reach out to retiring military and those in the reserves. Veterans to Energy offers a list of API members who actively recruit veterans of the armed forces. 

The website offers insight into oil and gas careers, providing job descriptions that complement specific positions in the military. With more than 20 companies listed as military-friendly, as well as hundreds of jobs, Veterans to Energy serves as one of many in the petroleum industry that supports the cross-hiring of servicemen and women.

Transferrable Skills

International oilfield services company Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI) is one of these companies supporting the Veterans to Energy project. The company is also involved in other military-specific events, transition centers and publications in an effort to attract transitioning and retired military. 

“The individuals who have served in the US Armed Forces are dedicated, results-oriented individuals who foster a can-do attitude and a focus on teamwork,” said Kyle Chrisman, Staffing Team Lead—US Land for Baker Hughes. “These transitioning servicemen and women are highly trained individuals with transferable skill sets that bring value to a global organization.”

In the energy industry, both enlisted personnel and officers are highly sought for their previous training and experiences with the military.

“We offer both professional and technical career opportunities that align with the technical and nontechnical skills that are acquired while serving in the US Armed Forces,” Chrisman added. “The servicemen and women, both enlisted and officers, receive job-specific skills that align with multiple business segments within our organization;, some examples are supply chain/logistics and field operations.”

Many facets of the military are easily transferred to oil and gas exploration, production, refining, transport and marketing.

“Some of the skills that are transferrable are technical, such as mechanical, electrical, logistics, warehouse and inventory, while others are nontechnical, such as leadership, teamwork and drive for results,” Chrisman said. “These are all valuable skills that are directly transferrable in today’s global environment.”

Like-Minded Individuals

Providing oilfield services, personnel and consulting to the industry for more than 70 years, Danos & Curole has been focusing on military recruitment for more than a decade.

“It was readily apparent that there were many transferable skills from the military to the oil and gas industry and that there were a large number of qualified candidates to choose from,” explained Paul Robichaux, recruiting manager for Danos & Curole. “Over the years, we have met with great success recruiting and hiring retired military into roles in supply chain management, mechanics, electricians, technicians, welders and equipment operators.”

In addition to possessing a can-do spirit, commitment to safety and disciplined work ethic that thrive in the energy industry, many aspects of working in the oil field attract retired military, he continued.

“The oil and gas industry offers an alternative to a typical 5/2 work schedule where employees report to work 5 days per week, within driving distance of their homes,” Robichaux said. “Most work schedules are 14 days on and 14 days off or some version of that rotation. The oil and gas industry offers many opportunities to work around the world and live in any location the employee may choose.”

The energy industry also offers room for advancement, excellent benefits and compensation, as well as extensive career improvement opportunities.

“Oil and gas is very broad and constantly evolving,” Robichaux added. “It is a field with a very high ceiling.”


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