How to attract the best oil and gas talent
Oil and gas companies in Southeast Asia are expected to grow in the coming years, which means businesses will require more experienced engineers.
Malaysia and Singapore in particular are seen as important international energy hubs and more contractors are taking on large projects in this part of the world. This point is emphasised by Royal Vopak's recent announcement that it will invest in Southeast Asia's first independent import Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) facility in Singapore.
Eelco Hoekstra, Chairman of the Executive Board and Chief Executive Officer at the company, said: "Singapore is a natural choice as it is home to several large petrochemical complexes and we already have an established presence supported by excellent relationships with local authorities.
"Most importantly, building on the success of Singapore as an oil hub, there is potential for a regional hub for LPG and we are keen to be part of this growth."
With so many new projects emerging, the competition for talented oil and gas engineers is high, so businesses need to ensure they stand out from their rivals.
What incentives can you offer?
Although financial packages are important, there are many things that companies can do to set themselves apart from other organisations. In an increasingly competitive market, it is vital that firms demonstrate they care about their employees and are committed to ensuring that staff have a good work-life balance.
A firm that has a reputation for rewarding good performance and providing high levels of support will immediately appeal to a contractor. This is especially true if an engineer is moving to an unfamiliar part of the world.
If Southeast Asian oil and gas companies are to overcome skills shortages in the sector, they may opt to hire workers from other continents. Helping these people to settle into a new way of life is crucial and employers should explain exactly what they will do to accommodate a contractor from a different region.
Why diversity is key
As well as searching for skilled engineers in far-flung countries, businesses should also try to hire more women.
Gender diversity is a big issue, with governments across the globe discussing ways to increase the number of women working in typically male-dominated industries, including oil and gas. A new study published by BP and Rigzone has shown that career prospects are improving for women in the global oil and gas industry.
It seems Asian businesses have a generally positive attitude towards the appointment of women into senior oil and gas management roles. Some 64 per cent of firms felt men and women have equal opportunities to progress on to bigger and better jobs, which was much higher than the worldwide average of 54 per cent.
Kirsty Bashforth, Group Head of Organisational Effectiveness at BP, said the corporation has benefited from having a diverse hiring policy.
"At BP, we work to attract, motivate, develop and retain the best talent from the diversity the world offers - our ability to be competitive and to thrive globally depends on it," she commented.
"Women, which represented nearly 32 per cent of BP's hires last year, are playing an increasingly vital role in the effort. For BP, diversity and inclusion is not a 'nice to have'. It's a 'must have'."
The way forward
As the BP case study shows, companies that display a proactive attitude towards boosting levels of gender diversity will be far more appealing to a contractor than a firm that has failed to progress.
With the global demand for oil and gas expected to surge in the coming years, it is important that companies source new talent as soon as possible. Although skills shortages are a problem, governments across the globe are taking steps to encourage more youngsters to study vocational subjects, giving them an opportunity to learn practical jobs that will directly benefit employers in the future.
Until this new generation of talent emerges, it is crucial that oil and gas companies differentiate themselves from their rivals in order to attract the very best engineering contractors in the world.