Job hunters are being advised not to tell prospective employers they work in the oil industry or live in Aberdeen – if they don’t want to their CVs to go the bottom of the pile.
The claim comes from Aberdeen-based recruitment specialist who has set up a jobs group to help people who have been made redundant as a result of the oil price crash.
Colin Rawlinson, who has 40 years recruitment experience and who has supplied oil and gas engineers and technicians to companies, said: “People are telling me there’s a lot of prejudice.
“It does seem that some people are finding it hard to find work elsewhere once people know they worked in oil and gas.
“Those who don’t work in the industry think that everyone in Aberdeen has been raking in the big bucks for years and now they are feeling a bit of pain – it’s that German word ‘schadenfreude’ – taking pleasure in another’s misfortune. It’s very sad.”
“A woman told me she had applied for a job down south and away from the oil and gas sector. The interviewer said that if they offered the job, the woman would be on the first Easyjet flight back to Aberdeen as soon as the oil industry picked up again.”
More than 10,000 jobs have been lost in the Aberdeen area since the price of oil started to slide in autumn of 2014.
One experienced oil and gas professional, who asked not to be named for fear of reducing her chances of getting a job revealed: “My contract was terminated in December 2014, and I have managed to get ad-hoc bits and pieces, but these are drying up.
“I am a specialist with over 20 years experience in O&G, and have been applying to other industries, only to hear nothing back.
“I have also been touch with the big agents, only to confirm that most of their clients have asked that they don’t submit CVs from oil and gas people in the Aberdeenshire area, and indeed was asked if I had an address that I could use in the central belt area.
“They also said that a lot of their clients are very small minded, and given that some of these companies lost experience people to the oil and gas industry, have absolutely no intention of taking any people back. How do we get around this one?”
Rawlinson said it is impossible not to refer to oil and gas experience if that is what job seekers have been doing for years and he stressed that job seekers should not falsify their credentials, but he suggested that people do a “functional” CV.
“People must assess what transferable skills they have and promote those. They have to think of other ways to get noticed.
“For example, I talked to a young guy who has lost his job as a pipe fitter. He needs to highlight that he can work as a plumber. A lot of oil industry workers are highly skilled and can work in other sectors.”
Rawlinson, shared an email he had received from another job seeker, who had worked in oil and gas management positions for 40 years and had had spent most of 2025 out of work:
“Been trying to get work outwith the O&G for a long time without any success until last week.
“This was achieved when about one month ago reworked by CV and changed address to my daughter in London. Since then had three interviews and two job offers. There is a lot of work south of the border.
“The big item is the rework of the CV to remove items like offshore installation activities to just installation activities. Other items like Total North Sea to just Total, etc. Within weeks was getting phone calls.”
“I do understand why companies are not keen to take people from Aberdeen O&G because they will all go back when the rates go daft again and that will happen. It could take to 2017 or 2018 but [it] will.”
Another wrote: “I have been applying for roles overseas, and they have been the only companies to come back to me – says a lot about the UK.”
Brian Creegan, business improvement manager with recruitment heavyweight Reed UK, urged job seekers to highlight their transferrable skills, but added that Reed does not include addresses on CVs when it puts forward candidates.
“I would be surprised if recruiters are telling candidates to change their addresses or are not putting people forward for jobs based on where they live. I have not heard of that happening and none of our people would do that. We do not put addresses on CVs we send to clients.”
“It does make sense to highlight transferable skills. You should always tailor your CV to the job you are applying for and consider how you word it. If every other word is ‘oil’ or ‘gas’ you probably aren’t highlighting the skills that can be used in other sectors.
“The oil industry has in the past paid wages far higher than the rest of economy and that may always tempt people back, but many workers are sick of the [boom and bust] cycle and won’t go back into oil.”