Labour market: Best oil and gas employers

If we would like to make a selection of the best oil and gas employers, taking in consideration wages, benefits, development programs and organization culture, this will represent a real challenge, as per so many variations within oil and gas companies around the world. At Premier Global, we are having permanent interactions with some of the most important oil and gas companies in the sectors of design, engineering, construction, pre-commissioning, commissioning, production, maintenance and inspection, from Europe, Middle East and Asia due to our clients’ volume recruitment projects that we manage.
It would be also difficult to aggregate some statistical data in order to make a selection of the best employers, based on qualitative characteristics, but based on Premier Global first hand feedback from our candidates on the companies we proposed them for hiring, we would definitely be able to offer some interesting insights.

Salaries and benefits

Salaries, probably the most important aspect in job opportunity selection for Romanian and European candidates we place in Middle East, Asia and Europe, are varying very much depending on job experience, expertise and responsibilities, working conditions, rotation cycle and cultural specifics. If for example, in Romania, a local oil and gas professional will have an average monthly salary of USD 2,800, the same professional could get an average monthly salary of USD 9,200 in Norway, USD 13,500 in South Korea, USD 6,400 in Saudi Arabia or USD 6,900 in Iran. There is such variation depending on other benefits as well, for example, companies from Middle East are stimulating candidates to relocate with their families, so in this regard, they are offering different extra-packages such as free education for their children, accommodation fees, access to recreation and sport facilities, or offering the possibility of candidate’s spouse to find quickly a job. Other benefits could include free flight tickets and turnaround to candidate country of origin, free housing and accommodation, health and life insurance, etc.
If the salary level is what matters the most, candidates will find companies offering the highest salaries or wages either in countries with a high standard of living such as USA, Norway, UK, etc., in countries where their skills and competencies are highly needed such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, etc. or in regions with some various risks involved such as Nigeria, Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, etc. The salaries sometime will not come in one single package, candidates being offered with different financial or non-financial extra-packages, in order to relocate with their families, ensuring lower long-term costs and higher added-value for the company.

Contract type

Employers have different types of contracts, depending on their needs, projects or candidates’ requirements. So, there could be permanent contracts, in which the employee is completely relocated in employers’ country, benefiting from approximate 20 days of holiday per year, there could be contracts with rotation, in which the candidates are working for a determined period of time and then they are having a holiday in which they could return home on employers’ costs (35 days working/28 days holiday, six months working/one month holiday, etc.) or there could be project-based contracts for a determined period of time. Also, one important aspect is that depending on country legislation, company regulations or specifics of the project, the contract could be directly with the employer, through one of its subcontractors or through a personal leasing recruitment agency.
In this regard, candidates looking for high salaries will have to sacrifice the time spend with their families, as for high salaries are offered usually very few opportunities for extended holidays. For example, in UAE, Romanian engineers could get a 35/28 rotation contract, which mean that they will work for 35 days and then they will have 28 days off (paid by the employer) but their monthly salary will probably not exceed USD 4,000 for this contract, while if the same candidate will choose to sacrifice the time spend with family and have a contract in Saudi Arabia with six months working and one month off, he could reach a salary of USD 6,000.

Experience and expertise

It is obviously that even if employers have some standard offers, those could be supplement if the candidate demonstrates solid experience and certified expertise. What is important for the candidates is to work for companies where they could culturally integrate and their potential is capitalized and valued. The best employers have continuous personal and professional development programs, motivational programs and bonuses, periodic assessment centres and a permanent preoccupation for employee’s consolidation of expertise and experience.
We asked our candidates to make a selection of the best oil and gas employers Premier Global recruited them for, so among the selected companies were Saudi Aramco (KSA), Gasco (UAE), Adgas(UAE) and Hyundai E&C (South Korea), based on salary range, professionalism, benefits, working conditions and professional development programs.

2015 oil and gas human capital retrospective

2015 was a complicated year for oil and gas sector, important changes being perceived in the entire structure. Among key facts in the oil and gas sector in 2015 were the increased volatility in oil price and the decrease of crude oil price to USD 47.76/bbl in January 2015 and USD 37.97/bbl in December 2015, compared with USD 108.12/bbl in January 2014 and USD 62.34/bbl in December 2014, increase shale oil and gas exploitation in USA, increasing crude oil production in Saudi Arabia, despite the decrease of oil price, global geopolitical changes such as regional conflicts in Syria, Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries, EU sanctions against Russia over Ukraine conflict or the release of the embargo over oil exports in Iran.
Some countries, such as Venezuela, Nigeria, Iraq or Russia are seriously affected by the diminish of the oil price due to the fact that their main economic engine is oil and gas industry and at current price of oil barrel, they cannot break even or they make far less profit than previous period, so this affect them economically. Iran also can be added on this list, as after years of international embargo on oil exports, now when all the restrictions are raised, all the accumulated oil tanks can be only sold at less than half of the value at the beginning of 2014. Obviously, the labour market doesn’t look too optimistic in those regions, as the stagnation of industry development, doesn’t creates jobs. On one side, the local professionals are exploring abroad opportunities while foreigners working in those countries are already looking for jobs in other regions.
The oil price drop is felt by the labour market also in developed countries such as USA, Norway or UK, as the companies in those countries are trying to reduce the breakeven point by reducing the operational costs. In UK, the number of people employed in oil and gas industry has dropped with 20% since the beginning of 2014, while in US, the rate has dropped with 10% and in Norway with 4%.
At global level, it is perceived a lower demand for the labour market in oil and gas industry, as most of the new development project and oil and gas exploration projects are on hold, the shale exploitation is gaining more ground, although some strategic pillars such as Saudi Arabia which is deliberately increasing its production at current price despite other OPEC countries arguments for market control.

Oil and gas 2016 outlook

Changes and price volatility have been always part of oil and gas industry. Additional to those regular variables, there are various geo-political events which deconsolidates the market, create risk aversion among investors and prevent a self-regulation market based on supply-demand relationship.
I think oil and gas industry is at one of the most important crossroads of its history which will affect us all: recruiters, candidates, employers, employees, consumers, investors, subcontractors, public institutions etc. In addition to oil and gas market internal issues, there are threats coming from other substitute source of energy, progresses being made on replacing fossil energy with electrical energy based on alternative sources of production. 2016 will be an interesting year for the oil and gas industry – there are changes already starting to happen, one of those came with the announcement of Saudi Aramco’s IPO (Initial Public Offer), in an attempt of attracting private foreign investors in Saudi Arabia, to confer more transparency within the company and to consolidate Saudi Arabia strategic position and brand on oil and gas market.
In conclusion, I think this is an important moment that we are living in the era of oil and gas industry, that could fundamentally change this industry, by relocating some strategic pillars to other countries and regions than the traditional known ones, by technologically optimizing the exploitation of oil and gas and by adjusting the skills and competencies needed by oil and gas professionals.

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