Service sector

Report shows hiring continues in oil services sector

As the COVID-19 pandemic crippled global economies last year, a collapsing oil industry shed jobs.

At its peak, the Energy Workforce & Technology Council estimates that the energy technology and services sector lost nearly 102,000 jobs.

Reopening economies, rising demand for oil, and oil prices above $60 have helped restore some of those jobs. The council said the sector added 9,707 jobs in May for a growth rate of 1.6%. It comes after the sector added 17,700 jobs in March and April. The council cites data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicating that the sector has added more than 27,000 jobs in the past three months after hitting a pandemic low of 591,413 jobs reported in February.

“We’re hiring like crazy,” said Ron Gusek, president of Liberty Oilfield Services after speaking at the Shale Energy Conference at the Horseshoe. The company has held numerous job fairs, he added.

Gusek said his business fell to a low of 40 fracking crews, but he estimated that number rebounded by around 60%.

The challenge in filling positions is finding people willing to come back to the industry, he said. The industry has had its ups and downs, but downturns in 2015-16, when oil prices fell below $30 a barrel, and again last year, made workers reluctant to return to industry, he explained.

“That’s the challenge, and it will be a major challenge in the future,” he said.

The number of frac teams will never return to the highs seen between 2011 and 2014, he said. But the number of crews is increasing slightly, he said.

“We have to find our way from this,” he said.

Molly Determan, chief operating officer of the Energy Workforce & Technology Council, told the Reporter-Telegram via email that the industry’s workforce is changing “fundamentally with increased automation, digitalization, learning automation, artificial intelligence and the ability to perform operations remotely. This will ultimately lead to a leaner and more highly technical workforce. Some of our existing workforce will be requalified to fill these roles, and others will be recruited from the industry. »

These fundamental changes are one reason why a focus on inclusion and diversity is so important, she continued. “We need innovative solutions from a diverse workforce as industry and society transition to a low-carbon future.”

The council has just published a report which reveals that the percentage of women in the sector has increased to nearly 20% in the last three years.

“The results of this year’s study are encouraging, especially given the pandemic-related job losses that peaked at more than 100,000 in the energy services industry,” said Leslie Beyer, chief executive, in a press release. “As women and minorities depart at higher rates from the overall American workforce, this puts increased pressure on oil and gas companies pursuing inclusion and diversity goals, and it’s a challenge.Diversity will remain key to creating the new ideas businesses need to deliver a safe, affordable and sustainable low-carbon future.

Determan said recruiting women and minorities is definitely an opportunity. As companies think about their post-pandemic workplaces, she said it provides an opportunity for them to increase flexible working options permanently and consider incentives such as back-up childcare.

“There are additional steps companies can take to create a more attractive workplace for women and minorities, such as establishing mentorship programs and supporting employee resource groups,” he said. she declared. “Furthermore, as companies in our industry step up their environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts, they are placing more emphasis on inclusive cultures, which in turn will attract more women and minorities. in critical roles.

The industry is making progress and is committed to continuing to improve, she said, but there is still work to be done.