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Survey finds 78% of oil and gas professionals feel less secure in their jobs than a year ago

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The fifth annual Global Energy Talent Index (GETI), the world’s largest energy recruitment and employment trends report, has been released, showing that the COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a crisis of confidence for the oil and gas workforce.

The report by Airswift, a global workforce solutions provider for the energy, process and infrastructure sectors, and Energy Jobline, a jobsite for the energy and engineering industries, reveals that 78% of oil and gas professionals feel less secure in their jobs than they did a year ago, with two-thirds blaming the pandemic for their anxiety. These worries are shared by hiring managers, 77% of whom consider their employees’ jobs less secure than they were last year.

Driving this, a sense of precarity hovers over the whole sector. 42% of survey respondents believe the oil and gas market has contracted over the past year – and 24% characterise this as a “strong contraction”.

However, there remains plenty of hope for the future. 57% of respondents believe their employer is resilient to both recent and future changes and 64% expect the sector to grow over the next three years. The same number feel that advances in engineering techniques and technologies will be among the most important opportunities for oil and gas businesses over the period.

Janette Marx, CEO at Airswift, says: “There is no denying that this has been a challenging year for the energy industry, and COVID-19-related instability is certainly being felt by the workforce. But oil and gas is a resilient sector, which has learned several lessons from the last major downturn.

“The bigger long-term challenge is a reduction in available capital, with investors looking to their own reputations and diverting funds towards sectors like renewables. To overcome it, oil and gas firms must show their commitment to innovation and to people, demonstrate support for environmental measures and technological advancements and, crucially, ensure that investors and the workforce alike hear the message.”

In addition to providing much-needed insights into the uncertainty posed by the events of the past 12 months, GETI is also the industry’s most comprehensive salary and mobility study. Key findings within oil and gas include:

  • For the first time in GETI history, over the past year more professionals in the oil and gas sector report a fall in pay (29%) rather than an increase (28%).
  • However, 49% expect pay to rise in the next 12 months, compared to just 18% who expect further reductions.
  • 89% of professionals would consider relocating to another region for their job, with career progression opportunities the number one factor attracting talent to a region.
  • Renewables and petrochemicals remain the biggest sources of competition for talent, winning the votes of 50% and 25% of those open to switching sectors, respectively.

Josh Young, Director at Energy Jobline, says: “In times of uncertainty, such as this, it is talent that gets you through. Of course, in energy, the competition for that talent is getting fiercer by the day.

“Oil and gas employers may forgive themselves a little self-doubt, but reasons for cautious optimism remain. Technology represents a clear opportunity but so could the energy transition, if handled with care. And let’s not forget that the workforce still has faith that growth – and rising remuneration – will return.”

Airswift and Energy Jobline surveyed 16 000 energy professionals and hiring managers in 166 countries across five industry sub-sectors: oil and gas, renewables, power, nuclear and petrochemicals. The report is available to download at

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