Oil and Gas Market Recruitment Trends for 2023

Representatives of Petroplan, Piper-Morgan Associates, Kaye/Bassman's Energy Practice and TMM Recruitment share their thoughts.


Over the next 12 months, the oil and gas industry will thrive.

That’s the opinion of Petroplan, according to the company’s EMEA Recruitment Director Dean Greenwood, who said “there are several reasons to derive this confidence from”.

“The main one is that the strength of the oil price, and the unfortunate geopolitical and economic events, have led operators to taking financial investment decisions on many new greenfield upstream and downstream projects,” Greenwood told Rigzone.

“Therefore, we believe that the next 12 months and beyond are looking extremely positive from a recruitment perspective and the reliance on industry recruitment experts like Petroplan will be key,” he added.

Although he described this period as one of the most “buoyant” in the history of the oil and gas sector, Greenwood said he believes there could be a skills and resource shortage “due to many professionals taking early retirement in recent years and others diversifying during the oil and gas market downturn into crossover sectors such as renewables, mining, and life sciences”.

“We are yet to see the true impact since the recent oil and gas market resurgence but what we are seeing is that many EPC’s and operators are all competing for the same resource, and this could eventually prove challenging in securing the right talent,” Greenwood warned.

Also looking at oil and gas market recruitment trends in 2023, Gladney Darroh, the president and founding partner of Piper-Morgan Associates, said, “for the majors I see greatest emphasis in college new hires, moderate interest in 5-10 years range for experienced hires, one-off interest in a ‘specialty person’ with 10+ years experience, [and] a tick-up in overall hiring for U.S. onshore experience in well known, prolific basins like the Permian”.

“For the independents, I see equal interest in college new hires and the 5-10 year experienced hire, and more openness for talent in the 10+ experience range. The vast majority of these roles among independents are in U.S. onshore. I am speaking about direct hires here for both majors and independent,” Darroh added.

“I think both majors and independents will continue to fill-in their needs, especially where strong technical experience is required, with contractors in order to keep their headcount down. But I believe the majors and independents will do their best to shrink their contractor workforce because of 1/ expense, and 2/ avoiding problems because the line between contractor and direct employee is becoming very, very blurred,” Darroh continued.

When asked what recruitment trends he expected to see in the oil and gas market this year, Christopher Melillo, the founder and managing partner of Kaye/Bassman’s Energy Practice, told Rigzone, “for U.S. domestic onshore, the majority of roles that are focused in oil and gas are for systems/pipeline and process field opportunities”.

“There are several roles that can be found in the administrative side of the industry from billing through accounting to legal. Plant management and facility management roles for midstream are expected to be in the average range of historical openings with a good amount of business development roles in that space,” he added.

“We expect there to be many capital development roles come about for drilling and production (exploratory wells and existing), however, we expect very little activity with the meat of oil and gas operations for the engineering and geoscience professions,” Melillo warned.

The managing partner said there had been some spurts for offshore hiring for engineers and geophysicists, as well as plenty of offshore rig opportunities for HSE professionals and roustabouts, adding that the main geography of coverage was for Southwest Africa, “with Angola and Ghana leading the charge in the Gulf of Guinea”.

“There is also a tremendous amount of opportunity with the EPC companies focused on offshore transmission including construction of the injection and storage facilities,” Melillo added.

2022 Slowdown Will Be Sustained

Amanda McCulloch, the chief executive of TMM Recruitment – whose resourcing is predominantly focused on onshore appointments across accountancy and finance, engineering, HR, IT, legal, office support, QHSE, supply chain and contracts, technical and industrial disciplines in Aberdeen city and shire – also offered her view on 2023 oil and gas market recruitment trends.

Speaking to Rigzone, McCulloch said there was a bounceback in recruitment during 2022 but warned that TMM anticipates the slowdown that emerged towards the year’s end will be sustained throughout 2023 “because companies are being cautious, weighing up project investment alongside the higher tax regime”.

“Another concern for companies operating in the North Sea is access to skills and labour. It will continue to be hard to find, attract and recruit skilled people, particularly at the mid-level due to a shortage of candidates which reflects the far-reaching hangover from the previous downturn and pandemic when organizations had to restrict entry-level hiring, reduce training, and defer upskilling initiatives,” McCulloch said.

“Employers that can clearly communicate energy transition credentials, meaningful work and a more personalized approach to employee engagement and career development will be at an advantage. Organizations also need to be willing to expand and diversify their talent pipelines and evolve traditional processes to support more inclusive recruitment,” McCulloch added.

The TMM chief executive also highlighted that the company anticipates manager level candidates will be assessed more frequently on their people skills during the hiring process and said investments in reskilling and upskilling of existing employees will help to fulfil individual career aspirations, meet the needs of the business and lower attrition.

“It is essential that employers are mindful of all aspects of attraction and retention because this is a market where candidates are accustomed to being found, rather than having to be proactive job seekers,” McCulloch warned.

“Even the most loyal of employees can have their heads turned by an attractive offer of employment elsewhere,” McCulloch added.

To contact the author, email andreas.exarheas@rigzone.com

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