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Energy Job Market Looks Bright to End of Year

Global natural gas and oil companies remain cautious as they consider making new investments and hiring more employees, but a surge in worldwide energy demand should increase hiring to the end of this year, according to a report released on Wednesday.

"The Global Oil & Gas Workforce Survey" was compiled by OilCareers.com, an international jobs board for the industry, and global energy staffer Air Energi. Close to 13,000 energy professionals from 45 countries were asked to participate in the surveys for the biannual report, including more than 5,500 direct recruiters or senior decision makers.

"Unequivocally, the major concern across the board is workforce, with rising activity creating demand for staff despite the challenges caused by political unrest, regulatory uncertainty and natural disasters across the first half of the year," said OilCareers.com Managing Director Mark Guest. "What is clear from this report is that the oil and gas industry needs to focus now on the future challenges it faces to ensure it is best placed to take advantage of the opportunities available."

Many experienced energy professionals are nearing retirement age and the "great crew change" remains high on the agenda, said the authors. However, "the familiar focus on recruitment and retention will be joined by a third component, training.

"Emerging technologies and increasingly technical offshore and deepwater plays in relatively remote corners of the world will demand the very best of project teams and workforces. Companies are being encouraged to cooperate in the sharing of knowledge, resources and best practices as the industry enters a new era of energy production."

Increased hiring is expected across Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Australasia, Caspian Sea, Europe and the Middle East, with "specific demand" for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and engineering expertise. The energy economy in the United States is rebounding with the Gulf of Mexico deepwater drilling moratorium being lifted and from continued momentum in shale gas plays, the authors noted.

In the United States "the market is becoming more candidate-driven though rates remain largely balanced for the moment. Employers are taking a more guarded approach to manpower costs, rather than enforcing caps on contractor rates. Many companies are increasing their number of direct hires to manage these costs near- and long-term."

In addition, "design work" from the United States has picked up, "both in support of offshore newbuilds as well as LNG projects here and abroad. LNG terminals that have sat largely idle for several years are now being converted to export terminals," the authors said.

Worldwide the energy industry has been challenged this year because of political tensions in the Caspian and Middle East regions, "a track record of poor infrastructure in Africa (despite the region's tremendous potential scope for exploration and production) and natural disasters in South America and the Asia Pacific regions. However, a more resilient economy and high global demand has seen a continued increase in momentum worldwide," said the authors.

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