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Hays European oil and gas report April-June 2010

The year has started well and confidence is returning to the market place. The number of jobs being registered is approaching pre recession levels and demand is again strong across many technical and engineering disciplines.

The oil price has stayed at a steady, and for oil companies, satisfactory level for some months providing further impetus to push on with drilling and exploration projects previously shelved during the recession.


Mechanical, structural, electrical and process based engineers remain in short supply and skills shortages remain in the geologist and geophysicist specialist areas. The rapid growth of the renewable market, in particular the offshore wind sector has added to this problem as many engineers with oil and gas backgrounds have moved in to this newer market place.

Good experienced Project Managers are in particular demand, especially in the drilling sector and salaries are beginning to be driven up as employers compete for these candidates. There remains a solid demand in Aberdeen and London for senior level (10-15 years experience) exploration Geophysicists and Reservoir Engineers.

Sales and Business Development continues to grow as companies look to win the increasing amount of projects and work in the market place.

The skills gap remains across many disciplines and while the recession has had an impact there hasn't been a big increase in the numbers of suitable candidates becoming available on the market. Candidates in demand have remained in their current posts and as the market lifts it companies are increasing their retention strategies to avoid significant losses. The increase in the number of successful counter offers is a sign that employers are no longer happy to let staff leave but now wish to retain them, a sure sign of the market improvements.

Coming quarter

There is a big increase in demand for skilled engineers to meet demand for projects coming through. There is a marked push by many to hire permanent staff instead of contractors this time around, as they try and build more stability in their respective businesses. Contractors remain a large part of the UK market place and demand remains strong in the skill sets indicated above. Rates have remainedconstant and so far have not increased although this is likely to change over the coming three to six months as more projects come on line and demand lifts.

Executive recruitment

There is more activity now as senior level candidates are beginning to move and take on new challenges. This in turn creates spaces and fuels a slowly improving market.

Employer trends

Employers are beginning to consider candidates from other industries with transferable skill sets, as finding the perfect individual continues to be difficult. While there are more candidates out in the market place, in-demand skills remain difficult to fill. Employers are still aware of skill shortages across their businesses and now have budgets in place to bring on more graduates, technical apprentices and so on.

Candidate trends

Candidates are more receptive to considering a move away from their current role. Demand for engineers in certain areas has led to an increase in the number of headhunt calls being made to identify these skill sets. The renewable industry has attracted a lot of candidates away from the industry and while the improved markets are bringing some back, there remains a hole in the numbers of candidates available to the oil and gas marketplace.