From welders and pipefitters who build and repair pipelines to rig operators and drillers who work on oil rigs, jobs in the oil and gas field are a lucrative source of income for hundreds of thousands of Americans. If you’re dependable and aren’t afraid of a little hard work, you can earn a solid living with or without a traditional four-year degree.
If you’re new to oil and gas, however, it can be tricky to get your foot in the door. What’s more, the industry is facing growing uncertainties due to economic fluctuations that can make it harder to get your first job in the field. To break through, you might be considering working with an oil and gas recruiting agency.
Here, we’ll cover what to expect when working with an oil and gas recruiter as well as what you need to know if you’re looking to enter the field right now.
The oil and gas industry is no stranger to highs and lows and wild swings between them. The industry is heavily influenced by economic cycles, which can shift with consumer spending, international relations, global crises, and more.
Covid-19, however, is unlike anything the industry or the world has ever seen before. In its wake, the oil and gas field is faced with evolving for a future that’s uncertain, not just in the wake of a global pandemic but with unprecedented shifts to green energy worldwide.
According to Deloitte’s 2021 Oil and Gas Industry Outlook, oil and gas demand fell off sharply at the beginning of the pandemic, but rebounded faster than expected in the months that followed.
Whether the rebound continues consistently in the year ahead will depend on distribution and adoption of the coronavirus vaccine and how countries fare in the spring and summer months.
The oil and gas industry still presents lucrative jobs, but it’s harder to get and keep them. US-based oil and gas companies laid off about 14% of their permanent employees in 2020, and Deloitte predicts that 70% of those jobs may not come back by the end of 2021.
Experts say a so-called “great compression” of the industry could be in store as more companies go out of business and the number of major players in the field shrinks.
As the industry evolves to meet a growing demand for clean energy and do more with fewer resources, oil and gas companies will be looking for a shifting set of skills from workers. According to EY’s 2020 Oil and Gas Digital Skills Survey, executives predict the availability of big data and analytics will play the most significant role in the growth of companies in the field.
So, in addition to workers who can operate drills and troubleshoot machinery, workers with knowledge in areas like remote monitoring and sensors, robotic process automation, and digital apps will be in high demand in the years to come.
An oil and gas recruiting agency is a company that specializes in finding and placing workers for jobs in the oil and gas field. When companies need to find specialized workers, they often turn to oil and gas recruiting agencies to help them tackle the job.
When people are looking for a job, they can work with a recruiting agency to get connected with opportunities.
For oil and gas companies, recruiting agencies offer access to a wide network of skilled workers that match their needs in terms of technical skills and experience.
Working with an agency can help them hire faster and respond to shifting demand more effectively than hiring on their own. Plus, it frees up their internal resources to work on other personnel matters.
On the workers’ side, agencies can open up connections to jobs they might not have been able to find through public platforms like job boards.
In addition to helping oil and gas professionals find full-time jobs, agencies can place workers in temporary and contract roles, which can be useful if you need to find work quickly.
The agency can also offer tips on interviewing and negotiation to help make the job search as successful as possible.
Working with a reputable oil and gas recruiting agency doesn’t cost anything on the candidate’s side; the fee is paid to the staffing agency by the oil and gas company upon successfully filling the role.
So you know you want to work in oil and gas, but how do you pick between the varying oil and gas recruiting agencies out there? There are a few metrics you can use to determine where to stake your claim.
Some recruiting agencies have been working in oil and gas for decades, and have detailed experience in the specifics of not only where you’ll fit in best, but what oil and gas companies are looking for someone like you.
Look for recruiting agencies with a long track record; chances are, they know how to find solid, dependable oil and gas jobs for you.
Here, you can be a little more selective. Biggest isn’t always best — a large recruiting agency has more resources, but might also make you feel like you get lost in the shuffle.
A good plan might be to choose a mid-sized oil and gas recruiting agency, someplace with the connections to get you hired but who can also provide personalized services.
This way, you can find the job that’s best for you, not just someone like you.
While you’re looking for oil and gas jobs, you don’t want it to be a full-time job in and of itself. That’s especially true when you’re already working a gig, but want to find a better one to advance your career.
To that end, it might behoove you to find oil and gas recruiters who will help find you better opportunities even when you’re not actively looking. With companies like Surehand, for instance, we help minimize employment gaps by making it easy for oil and gas companies to find passive candidates like you for more lucrative positions.
Lastly, you want oil and gas recruiters who won’t forget you exist, and are easy to get hold of whenever you want to know more. Many recruiters have an unfortunate tendency to file you away and not follow up regularly, whether in person or through online portals.
The oil, natural gas and chemical industry in the U.S. employs close to one-and-a-half million people. The availability of those jobs is closely tied to the status of the economy, the price of oil, and the interplay between the two.
The boom and bust nature of the industry means big layoffs aren’t uncommon, and hiring is subject to what the industry calls “cyclicality”–the process of hiring in waves as demand dictates.
According to Deloitte, the current state of the market means that attracting new talent isn’t as big of a priority for oil and gas companies as it has been in years past. Instead, employers are more focused on retaining their best workers and meeting the challenges of an aging workforce.
Still, experts say oil and gas companies need to hire new, talented workers if they want to avoid a skills gap that will only get worse with time.
Despite shifting hiring trends, jobs in oil and gas hold steady in paying higher than the average job, with lucrative bonus structures and ample additional pay like overtime. The average hourly wage for all jobs in the U.S. is $25.72 an hour, where for the oil and gas extraction jobs it’s $47.92.
The average annual salary for all occupations is $53,490. In oil and gas, on the other hand, the average annual wage is $57,210 for wellhead pumpers, $72,680 for petroleum pump system operators, and $155,350 for petroleum engineers.
One defining factor that sets oil and gas jobs apart is that many of them do not require a college degree. Once you’ve gotten your foot in the door, you can work your way up to increasing levels of responsibility and pay.
Willingness to travel is key if you want to maximize your oil and gas earnings, as is taking part in ongoing learning to advance your skill set and make you more competitive.
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