Hir­ing out­look bright­ens in oil patch

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - BUSINESS - By Collin Ea­ton collin.ea­ton@chron.com twit­ter.com/CollinEa­tonHC

Oil com­pa­nies and their equip­ment sup­pli­ers cut an es­ti­mated 440,000 jobs world­wide in re­cent years after crude prices plum­meted in 2014.

But as prices sta­bi­lize above $50 a bar­rel, most com­pa­nies ex­pect to ex­pand their work­forces over the next year, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey of the global oil in­dus­try by NES Global Tal­ent, a re­cruit­ing firm in the United King­dom.

Eighty-nine per­cent of sur­veyed en­ergy em­ploy­ers — across North Amer­ica, Europe, the Mid­dle East and South Amer­ica — be­lieve they’ll boost staffing lev­els over the next 12 months, with 60 per­cent of those say­ing their re­cruit­ing ef­forts will be “sig­nif­i­cant” and 48 per­cent say­ing salaries could in­crease by 5 per­cent.

Al­most one-third of the sur­veyed com­pa­nies said they haven’t cut any jobs within the past year and be­lieve their staffing lev­els will re­main flat. Eleven per­cent ex­pect to cut jobs, mak­ing the next 12 months the first pe­riod that the in­dus­try ex­pects to bring on more work­ers than it lets go.

Twenty-three per­cent of these com­pa­nies said they will in­crease their work­forces by 5 per­cent, and 19 per­cent pegged the in­crease at 5 per­cent to 10 per­cent. An­other 17 per­cent said they’ll ex­pand their pay­rolls by more than 10 per­cent.

NES said U.S. shale drillers have led the ex­pan­sion, with Hal­libur­ton, the largest oil field ser­vices com­pany in North Amer­ica, post­ing the largest num­ber of job open­ings this year. In Texas, oil and gas com­pa­nies have added about 30,000 jobs over the past year, ac­cord­ing to the U.S. La­bor De­part­ment.

“There is a sense of pos­i­tiv­ity the likes of which we haven’t seen since 2013,” said Alex Fourlis, a man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Oi­lan­gasjob­search.com, which part­nered with NES to con­duct the sur­vey. “This is key to kick-start projects that haven’t been vi­able in a while.”

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