Editorial: Oil & Gas Recruitment: The 21st Century's Western Front?

Tim Haïdar



(n.) The state of being worn down

(n.) The reduction of the size of a workforce by not replacing personnel lost through retirement or resignation

Sun Tzu believed the war of attrition should be avoided at all costs. Fabius Maximus realised it would be the only way to defeat Hannibal. The Western Front was the ultimate expression of attrition as "the meatgrinder". And now oil and gas may be the next victim. As we discussed in The Great Crew Change: An Extinction Level Event In The Making?, the industry seems to beheaded inexorably towards a recruitment meltdown.

In a new report, one of the contributors to our piece, OilCareers.com managing director Mark Guest, has affirmed that: "Specialist disciplines are in very short supply. Graduate programmes are not attracting the right amount of people into the industry, and where good grads are found, it’s often a case of too little, too late."

The growth of unconventionals, the possibilities provided by high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) wells and the opening of the Arctic to drilling are some of the drivers behind the need for an estimated 120,000 new recruits to the UK sector alone in the next decade. Despite tax breaks and investment set to hit record levels in 2013, apathy and attrition stand mountainesque in the path of progress for the industry that adds £6.7 billion to the British Exchequer each year and employs almost half a million people.

There is another definition of attrition:

(n.) Grief for sin arising only from fear of punishment or feelings of shame….