Supply and demand is the backbone of any business, and in no sector is this more relevant than in oil and gas. There’s by no means a shortage of demand; the population is almost entirely dependent on oil, and will be for decades to come. However there could be a problem with supply; not in the actual product itself, but in the ability to deliver it due to qualified staff.
It’s no secret that the oil and gas industry has struggled to plug the gaps in employment over the past decade; but while there’s still a clear shortage in highly-skilled professionals within the sector, some markets are now showing a resurgence in hiring activity. If you have the right skillset then you know you’re in huge demand the world over, but where is the best place to ply your trade?
Europe and North America are hardest hit
There are a few prominent reasons as to why the global oil and gas industry’s talent pool is shrinking each year. The first is technology; many advanced processes have become automated in recent years, reducing the need for more traditional workers. The second is down to Father Time; the average age of existing staff is currently 58, and it’s estimated that 50 per cent of the worldwide oil workforce will be eligible for retirement in the next five to seven years.
As the talent pool shrinks due to a lack of replenishment and training, the industry as a whole suffers. In 2011, 50 per cent of oil and gas firms said that addressing the skills gap was their main challenge, while a recent poll conducted by Honeywell found that 25 per cent of firms were to make a significant investment in human resources.
Companies in North America are among the hardest hit in the world, with oil and gas projects being scrapped or delayed due to financial constraints. Things aren’t much better in South America; there’s currently a massive strain on the job market, particularly in Venezuela, where the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided not to cut production.
Europe’s oil and gas job market is also feeling the pinch, arguably due to the slow adoption of fracking and shale exploration. In Australia, many projects have moved from the construction phase to operational status, and thus recruitment activity has slowed dramatically.
Hiring increased in the Middle East
Businesses in the UAE and the Middle East haven’t slowed down their recruitment processes like other nations around the world. The most sought-after expatriates are those with specific unconventional experience; however workers of all skill levels are needed. In-demand roles include predictive maintenance team leaders and static equipment engineering team leaders. Both pay handsomely.
But why is the Middle East oil and gas market thriving while others suffer? Ultimately it comes down to a refusal to halt proceedings in the face of an oil price decline, instead pushing on with infrastructure projects when other regions scaled back.
What incentives are there to migrate to the Middle East?
Well, for starters there are the aforementioned handsome salaries. The oil and gas industry generally pays well due to the shortage of skilled professionals; in America, the average domestic salary for production and exploration jobs in the sector is around $96,844, while the national average wage (as of 2013) was just half of that, at $44,888.16. The same job in Dubai, however, can command up to $138,000 annually & $11,500 every month.
Job satisfaction is also incredibly high in the Middle East oil and gas sector. A strong benefits structure is in place in order to attract and retain employees, and there are ongoing opportunities for skilled and semi-skilled personnel to progress in their careers. As far as the most sought after skills, project managers and engineers in multiple disciplines rank highly.
If you’re interested in a new career in the Middle East and you have an appropriate skillset, there’s never been a better time to get the most for your services.