02 November 2015The current climate
. Given the current glut in oil markets across the wider GCC, many oil & gas companies are cutting back on recruitment spending and reducing overall headcount. The recent Monster Employment Index Report
reflected the effects of these cutbacks, revealing a significant decrease in August job postings in the UAE's oil & gas industry. In light of a 40% drop in oil prices in recent months, oil companies are making preparations to trim staff numbers. Rather than this be a cause for industry-wide alarm and hiring freezes, this period of low oil prices could be an opportunity for GCC-based oil & gas companies to invest in and diversify talent.
Don't panic just yet. While many companies will have to tighten their belts if oil prices remain at record lows, there are two reasons why we shouldn't be overly concerned about online recruitment figures, such as those reflected in the Monster report. First, research carried out by Oxford Strategic Consulting has shown that a modest 24% of UAE employers prefer to use online job advertisements to fill vacancies, with the majority of employers preferring instead to use recruitment fairs (52%) and finding candidates directly (44%). Oxford reports on Oman and Qatar found similar findings in these countries. Second, only 36% of UAE national job seekers prefer to apply for a job online, with the vast majority seeking recommendations from influential people instead.
Buy straw hats in the winter. Significant recruitment cutbacks in the 1980s resulted in a missing generation of geoscientists and petroleum engineers. Now, oil & gas majors and service companies are striving to fill this gap by hiring young talent, an issue often exacerbated by a limited supply of experienced local staff as well as Nationalisation considerations. We know this industry-wide challenge as 'the Big Crew Change'. If the industry as a whole buys into this new round of recruitment cutbacks, we could be looking at a Big Crew Change 2.0 down the road.
No risk; no reward. Those companies that use this period of low oil prices as an opportunity to invest in new talent, develop existing talent and target female recruitment, however, will be better prepared to handle any future talent gaps in the industry. The oil & gas industry requires long-term skills, but investment is impacted by short-term price changes. Companies that continue to invest in people will be the winners in the long run.
Oxford Strategic Consulting is an Oxford and GCC based consultancy that specialises in building human capital across the GCC and Europe. With teams in Oxford, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE, our experienced HR Directors, subject matter experts and researchers combine international best-practice with GCC-specific knowledge to conduct human capital research and implement practical and bespoke people solutions.
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