September 2014: The Tough Talent Challenge

2014-09 Most Difficult to Fill PositionsProfessionals are in the driver’s seat when it comes to today’s energy job market. The combination of competition between industries searching for talent with skills transferable to oil and gas, new projects requiring highly skilled engineers as well as existing talent leaving companies at above average rates, makes recruiting for specific roles a different sort of energy challenge.

Rigzone asked nearly 200 oil and gas-focused hiring managers to name their most difficult-to-fill positions. And, a pattern is emerging as many roles from the top eight list showed up on the most wanted jobs posted in the first quarter of the year.

To the oil and gas professional with expertise in these areas the message is clear: You’re a hot commodity.

Tying for first place are engineers: drilling, petroleum and reservoir. Higher drilling activity and a rise in technologies furthering the ability to produce from more challenging fields make finding available engineers nearly as evasive as new oil discoveries. Reservoir engineers pop on hiring managers’ wish lists as companies look for talent to support conventional and unconventional exploration activity.

Health and safety managers/advisors (tied with process engineers) should be no surprise as a difficult find. The industry has made a concerted effort to make safety a priority, both as a way to attract the younger generation and also protect its most valuable resource—its people. Companies are looking for advisors to provide guidance and instruction on policies, procedures and processes.

2014-09_RZ_New_JobsRecruiters tell us often they can’t find enough mechanics (#4) to fill open roles. Mechanics looking to call a specific industry home would be wise to choose energy. In fact, the average pay for a mechanic in the U.S. is $36,610 per year, according to government statistics. In oil and gas that’s nearly double at more than $70,000 a year including bonus, danger pay and other benefits.

Field service technicians and welders landed at six and seven on the list, respectively. Reliability, willingness to be on call and strong interpersonal skills are a must as hiring managers look for field service techs who will serve as the face of the company when they visit customers.

Compensation for these mobile repair or assessment professionals rose four percent from last year to more than $86,000 annually. And welders who choose oil and gas can find opportunities in Texas, Colorado or Louisiana in the states, or elsewhere from Canada to Australia and nations in between.

Paul Caplan
President, Rigzone