Oil and gas layoffs reach 150,000

Figure is expected to rise even further

Only a small number of new jobs are being created, says Swift.
Only a small number of new jobs are being created, says Swift.

Oil and gas job cuts worldwide reached 150,000 by the end of May and that figure is set to rise further, according to a recent report by energy recruiting firm Swift Worldwide Resources.

Since March, the global energy sector has witnessed a fivefold increase in the number of layoffs, with the US seeing “the fastest and steepest decline”, Swift said, adding that jobs in the North Sea have also been hit hard.

Of all regions, the Middle East was affected the least as drilling activities in Saudi Arabia reached a 20-year high.

“The only substantially buoyant market is the Middle East, led by Saudi Arabia, where drilling activity is at a 20-year high,” Swift said. “Despite this, only a modest number of jobs are being created.”

Southeast Asia hasn’t seen substantial job losses, Swift said, but that could change in Korea, China and Singapore as orders haven’t come in as much as in the past. Angola and Nigeria have seen rigs sidelined and spending cuts, and Russia is still struggling under the weight of economic sanctions.

Job cuts have been present across Western oil producers, state-owned oil companies, oil field service firms, engineering and construction companies and manufacturers alike, with contractors “often [being] the first to get let go, with little fanfare,” said Swift.

Direct employees have also felt the blow, which was mainly caused by the fall in oil prices and the slowdown of activities on the market.

The recruiting firm tracks both public and non-public data, and it is possible the industry’s layoffs actually exceed Swift’s numbers, Swift CEO Tobias Read said.

“Where data is not publicly available we have kept our ear to the ground and made assumptions based on likely impact,” he said. “Our assumptions remain conservative and the likelihood is that total job losses probably substantially exceeds Swift’s forecast.”

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