The Hays Oil & Gas Global Job Index for the fourth quarter of 2013 showed that Asia has had a consistently high level of vacancies and continues to grow in comparison to global markets.
In Asia the Index stood at 1.81 at the end of December, up from 1.05 three months prior, indicating an exciting year ahead for jobs growth in the resource rich Asia Pacific (APAC) region.
The Index charts the number of jobs posted on nine oil and gas portals across the world.
According to the Index, the recent trend of strong growth in the APAC region is likely to continue as there is particular interest in shale gas and shale oil deposits in China. Existing and new fields in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam (of both conventional and non-conventional reserves) are also driving the market forward.
Despite the need to look farther afield for certain rare skills sets and/or candidates with mega project experience, there is an underlying drive from employers in the region to recruit locally ahead of expats.
“When employers do hire expats, it tends to be on ‘local’ or ‘local +’ packages whereby elevated basic salaries are paid, but candidates must take care of their own accommodation, tax, and flights, unlike the traditional expat packages we have seen in the past,” said Simon Lance, Regional Director of Hays in China.
“From the candidate’s perspective, many APAC nationals are keen to return but will only do so if they are able to maintain the same salary levels and career path they can achieve in other regions before they will
consider returning home.
“The rise in salaries for local talent and the drop in expat salaries have been continuing trends for some time now and are most likely major factors in keeping the annual increase in salaries in the region below the global average.
“With local content requirements and the political landscape as driving forces behind this move, we would expect the gradual convergence of local and expat salaries to continue.”
Globally the Index stood at 1.3 in December, which was down with where it stood at the end of the third quarter (September) at 1.7.
Trends by region
As well as an Asian perspective, the Hays Oil & Gas Global Job Index also provides a measure of month-to-month jobs posted by region. The figures from October to December 2013 (Q4) reveal:
Labour prices in Australia remain the highest globally. The anticipated future cost-to-profit returns are causing operators to show increased caution in spending. This has started to cause delays in internationally backed projects across Australia. Examples are emerging across Australia where companies have taken (sometimes) dramatic steps to reduce costs. For offshore projects, the focus remains on increasing production and use of cost-effective floating LNG platforms, or FLNG technology. For onshore projects associated costs are being constantly squeezed and in some instances contracts have been delayed.
The fourth quarter in North America saw a slight upswing in recruitment activity. In Canada this increase can most likely be attributed to the eventual, and much anticipated approval for a number of major projects – most notably the Northwest Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Fort Hills projects. With the Northern Gateway pipeline project also receiving a positive recommendation, many companies have returned to hiring mode after having been in a holding pattern for the majority of the year. The U.S. market has continued a steady climb in recruitment activity throughout the year, with most activity focused on onshore non-conventional projects. This is a good indication that the offshore market will flourish in 2014.
Despite an upturn midway through the quarter, the year ended with a relatively low volume of vacancies. This is the first time the Job Index dipped below 2011 levels since our annual Job Index began. Business activity has remained stable in the European region, with European companies continuing to play an important global role in oil and gas development and joint ventures. Nonetheless, there is still uncertainty around the development of unconventional resources, specifically with the political debate and controversies surrounding shale gas and fracking. The outlook for 2014 is promising as the economic climate is expected to improve.
There were no significant changes to wages in Latin America during the fourth quarter. However, the release of environmental licences and new investments led to increased hiring in business development, crude trading, social and environmental areas in late 2013. New investment projects in onshore and offshore exploration phases led to continued hiring of specialised technical staff earning salaries at the top of the pay scale. In response to expected industry growth in coming months, companies are preparing to increase staff levels in order to accommodate this increased business activity.
The fourth quarter of 2013 proved to be slightly stronger than quarter four in 2012, with more oil and gas professionals in demand in Africa. Demand for candidates has been consistently high since May; it reached its second highest peak of the year in November at 1.76, higher than the Global Job Index score. Demand dropped considerably in December following a similar trend in 2012.
COMMONWEALTH OF INDEPENDENT STATES (CIS)
Over the fourth quarter of 2013 in Russia, there has been a burst in activity for oil and gas companies, which is typical for this time of year in the region. This is because Russian climate conditions allow for main construction work on onshore sites to start when the soil is frozen and therefore service companies are able to deliver construction materials and equipment on-site. Activity is being observed in the Caspian basin as a result of a number of major projects associated with the construction of a pipeline.
Whilst the Job Index has decreased in the last quarter, its latest position is only marginally below the high of the last two years. Moreover, we have already seen a major increase in vacancies in early 2014. Currently, Polymer and Plastic projects are in high demand across Oman and Saudi Arabia. Highly skilled chemical engineering graduates with key experience related to FEED and EPC phases with OPCO experience will be in high demand for the foreseeable future.
About the Hays Oil & Gas Job Index
The Hays Oil & Gas Global Job Index provides a measure of month-to-month jobs posted on the principal online job portals within the global oil and gas industry. The data is compiled by a team of analysts and researchers, and is broken down to reflect regional differences in hiring activity.
To view further detail on the index and the regional results please go to the Hays Oil & Gas website on www.hays-oilgas.com
Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.
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About Hays Oil & Gas
Hays is the leading global specialist recruiting group. Hays Oil & Gas is the expert at recruiting qualified, professional and skilled people across the full lifecycle of the global oil and gas industry. Its recruiting experts deal in both permanent positions and contract roles within upstream, project development and downstream operations.