A number of trends are critical to the global Oil & Gas industry. For example, the Middle East has the highest demand for engineering and construction professionals due to the vast number of infrastructure projects in the region. In addition, North America and the Middle East have significant needs for exploration and production professionals. With regard to top talent availability and demographics, several trends are developing:


  • the average age of the professionals is high
  • the main sources of recruitment are Western countries, such as the UK and US
  • the emerging top talent comes, increasingly, from developing countries.

Research demonstrates that management is dominated by the older professionals from North America which means that, in the next ten years, due to the retirement of many of these executives, there will be a major shift in age across management. In exploration and production, there are few young managers with most having over 15 years of experience. Studies show that around 50% of the professional staff in the industry are aged between 40 and 50 years old, while barely 15% are junior recruits. Up to half of the current workforce is likely to retire within the next ten years.


Recruitment in the exploration and production area requires specialized skills. In engineering and construction, certain skills are in high demand, especially in the Middle East. There are already well-experienced candidates from Asia, with a younger generation ready to take over the workforce. As major infrastructure projects are undertaken in Russia and the former Soviet Union, shortages in engineering and construction could occur. Oil & Gas production therefore has mainly been increased by improving old fields. The pipeline built from the Caspian Sea to Turkey is generating an increased demand for pipeline engineers.

Skills needed


  • Increased workload – the nature of the oil industry has changed with ‘more difficult oil’ needing to be extracted. This requires customized technology and project management expertise. The geology of reservoirs is also an issue with more complex formations and physical access becoming more challenging than ever (eg deep water), requiring different technology applications.
  • There are significant shortages in sub-surface engineering, as well as other technical disciplines.

Focus areas:

  • Chemical Industries: This sector includes companies that develop and apply basic, specialty and agricultural chemicals, petrochemicals, bio-chemicals, plastic materials, coatings, petroleum refining, cement and concrete as well as mineral, glass, packaging and paperboard products. This sector uniquely addresses changing raw material costs and environmental issues.
  • Metals & Mining: Along with metals and mining, the industries of pulp and paper operate here. Production issues are paramount in this industry.
  • Oil & Gas: Upstream, Midstream (exploration and production) and Downstream are the typical distinctions for this volatile, political, and highly debated industry. The challenges it faces includes environmental, regulatory and economic entities.
  • Utilities: The electrical services sector faces unique challenges. The ever-changing cost and demand of natural gas, along with explosive oil production rates and prices for raw materials, such as steel and copper, makes utilities an exciting sector.
  • Renewable Energy, Clean Tech and Sustainability: Clean technology, renewable energy and sustainability are constantly shifting between the spotlight and the periphery of the energy sector’s focus. This limelight is regionally specific and economically empowered, making this sector significantly globally.



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