A survey of oil and gas workers has spotlighted a “crisis of confidence” in the sector, ushered in by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Released today, the Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) revealed that 78% of professionals in the industry feel less secure in their jobs than they did a year ago.
These concerns are shared by hiring managers, 77% of whom consider their employees’ positions less secure than they were at the same stage in 2020.
Around two-thirds of respondents blamed the pandemic for their anxiety.
The report includes the views of 16,000 energy professionals and hiring managers in 166 countries across five industry sub-sectors – oil and gas, renewables, power, nuclear and petrochemicals – making it the biggest survey of its kind.
It was carried out by global workforce solutions partner Airswift, in partnership with jobsite Energy Jobline.
On the issue of wages, the GETI revealed that, for the first time in its history, more professionals in the oil and gas sector reported a fall in pay (29%) than an increase (28%).
However, 49% expect salaries to rise in the next year, compared to just 18% who think there will be further reductions.
Nonetheless, the report’s authors said “a sense of precarity hangs over the whole sector”, with 42% or respondents believing the industry has contracted over the past 12 months.
The vast majority of workers (89%) would also be prepared to consider relocating for their job.
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.
But, despite workers current concerns, the report said there remains “plenty of hope for the future”.
More than half (57%) of respondents believe their employer is resilient to both recent and future changes, while two-thirds (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, chief executive at Airswift, said: “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.”
Josh Young, director at Energy Jobline, added: “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.”