Employment rates in the struggling offshore sector are forecast to increase later this year, according to new research.
It comes after a tempestuous two years which has seen more than 120,000 jobs associated with the industry lost.
But research by Rystad Energy is said to show service companies within the shale business are now starting to recruit again.
And it is thought the trend may continue in the offshore sector later this year.
The North American shale industry in particular, took a hard hit with the lower activity levels experienced since 2014.
Two of the largest land drillers, Nabors Industries and Helmerich & Payne, announced several staff reductions resulting in an overall workforce reduction of more than 50%.
The Big Four, all exposed to the US land market, were forced to lay off between 30 to 40% of their workforce. Companies exposed to more of the international market have cut more modestly, in the range of 20-30%.
Audun Martinsen, VP of oilfield service research at Rystad Energy, said: “Among the top 50 service companies, around 300 000 workers or 35% of the work force, were laid off since 2014.
“However, the negative trend is about to turn and over the last few months we have seen more job-postings in North America from companies such as Weatherford, Nabors and Precision Drilling, among others. Last week, Halliburton announced its plan to add 2000 jobs to the pressure pumping and cementing business.”
FMC technologies reduced its staff by 1,000 as an initiative of cutting costs prior to the Technip-merger last year.
In October Saipem revealed that 800 jobs needed to be cut in Europe.
Rystad Energy expects shale focused operators to increase their spending by 30% in 2017, while offshore spending will grow from 2018, associated with increased FID activity.
Martinsen added: “With more projects offshore being revived in 2017, we expect the offshore lay-offs to stabilize and start to increase later in 2017. Already we see this trend in Norway and it is only a question of time before it starts elsewhere.
“The race for the best hands and brains has started in the industry and the companies that have laid off people in a responsible manner are likely to have a competitive edge going forward.”