I don’t really like predictions…
Forever is a very long time. I also have a personal aversion to predictions, whether we are discussing trends, commodity prices, fortune telling or astrology. Of all the types of predictions, I like science fiction. A good movie or book can really open up the imagination.
Sometimes, though, technology and business trends evolve to the stage where some predictions aren’t really predictions at all. Models that work really well get superceded by models that work even better. So some predictions are fairly ‘safe’.
A few ‘safe’ predictions:
- We will not go back to using manual typewriters.
- Future wars will not be fought with spears or bows and arrows.
- We will not tire of mobile phones and go back to wired telephones only.
- Images and moving media will stay digital and we will not revert to film reels.
- There will not be dinosaurs roaming the Earth again.
Of all these predictions, the only one that I am not completely sure about is the dinosaur prediction, thanks to the Jurassic Park movies, and developments in genetic science.
My prediction of the oil and gas jobs market changing forever is more tenuous than all five of my previous ‘safe’ predictions, but I will go on record as making these two predictions nevertheless:
- Recruiters won’t be able to charge huge fees anymore.
- Online jobs sites will continue to be a less effective way of recruiting staff.
How and why has the oil and gas jobs market changed?
During boom times, many E&P companies were in a position where they couldn’t find people quick enough. Due to the potential profits involved, and the cost of delays, huge finders fees well into double figure percentage rates were seen as both acceptable and necessary to get business done. Often these commission cheques continue for months or even years, sometimes based on a fairly minimal amount of work in matching CV’s with job positions.
Now, due to the US shale boom, and the improved technology to drill in ever deeper water and polar regions, we now know that there is no shortage of hydrocarbon resources. As a consequence of technological advances, hydrocarbon scarcity is not a realistic fear for the foreseeable future. The current supply glut and a number of stalled projects are coinciding with major leaps forward in alternative energy, electric cars and a concerted effort to reduce greenhouse emissions.
Sub $100/barrel, and probably sub $70/barrel will be with us for years.
The internet has revolutionised the manpower sector of most industries. It is especially suited to the international oil and gas industry. If you are a company based in Texas and you are looking for a local office worker, many of the traditional recruitment models work.
If you are a company from Texas planning to drill in the far east and need a particular skill pool, the choice to source the best workers from all over the globe is best done through the internet.
For a while, posting jobs online worked well for both employers and applicants. Instead of looking locally for work, or for staff, there was a whole world out there. The problem is that over time, too many people found out about the mechanism, many of these people ended up creating ‘noise’ and problems in the system.
On the other side of the coin, if you represent a company advertising a position, many or most of the candidates that contact you are not suitable.
We all see the ‘spoof’ job adverts on LinkedIn where someone makes a job listing where within the listing they clearly say that there is no job and that people should stop falling for these types of posts. There will be hundreds of ‘check my profile’ comments. Among these comments, there are sensible ones interspersed. You might see someone say ‘this isn’t a real job ad, read it properly please!’ Followed by more ‘I am available’ type comments.
If you are a company which publishes a job posting, you will get a deluge of chaff to separate. Much of the wheat will not respond because they suspect that your offer is not real!
This volume model that has only happened due to the coincidence of the internet, and the recent oil price boom, is over.
Why is it unlikely to change back again?
The reason why the jobs model is changing, for the better, on a permanent basis is because employers will realise that the model was broken all along. When they see that there are opportunities to work with a new generation of efficient, cost-effective manpower companies they will not want to go back. When they avoid the headaches of sifting through hundreds of unsuitable candidates, will they want to go back to that?
I don’t think so.
When they start working with companies like NatResPro and get to source properly screened new recruits at a fraction of the cost of what they were previously paying, without stress, they will stay with this model.
Let’s say that oil somehow spikes to $200/barrel in four years time…
Can you imagine anyone saying:
We are so profitable, lets go back to paying 10-20% finders fees to the recruiters!
Let’s post a jobs advert on social media or a jobs site and see who applies!
This is why I predict that the oil and gas jobs market has changed permanently.