An era that favours survival of the skilled
As the financially strained regional industry strives to do more with less, only workers that possess outstanding skills and a willingness to learn can hope to stay the course
Allow me to give you an overview of the grim state in which the regional upstream industry lies, in terms of employment. ADNOC has plans to slash a whopping 5,000 jobs by the end of the year, Sharjah-based private gas producer Dana Gas has laid off about 40% of its workforce and Royal Dutch Shell looks to retrench about 7,500 of its staff and those in direct contractor roles globally (and in the region particularly) this year.
The Gulf, once a promised land of prosperity, which was teeming with lucrative oil and gas (and allied sector) jobs not too long ago, is now bereft of its oil wealth due to below-par crude prices. NOCs, IOCs and privately owned enterprises based in the Middle East, which once lured hundreds of thousands of professionals from far and wide, are now bidding farewell to a large number of them, as they look for ways to navigate through the doldrums of low
In such a time as this, when oil and gas industry players are looking hard at their payrolls, it is quite obvious to expect that only those workers who have exceptional skills and training credentials, and have the potential to deliver more than their level-best, will escape the axe.
It is quite natural then that the need for specialised upstream skills and demand for corresponding training courses is on the rise now, as oil and gas industry employers intend to enhance the technical capabilities of – and improve upon the safety standards exercised by – the labourforce.
There is ample need for courses such as Non-Destructive Training (NDT), along with specialised programmes such as Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training (BOSIET) and International Minimum Industry Safety Training (IMIST), according to global training organisation OPITO (our Knowledge Partner), and it is imperative that regional workers be adept in these skills.
Industry experts, especially those in the skills and training sphere, still believe that the regional industry continues to reel from a dearth of skilled labour, which it seeks to address by splurging money on importing technical know-how, something that can be avoided by investing in the betterment of its workers.
Any step taken by oil and gas companies to reduce spending on the skills and training of its personnel, far from being an effective austerity measure, is nothing less than shortsighted.