World-wide energy use grows at about 4 percent every year. Capital investments continue to be high, and expectations are that in spite of the current drop in prices, the opportunity to grow and plan for the next two, five and ten years will continue to be driven by the world’s consumption of oil and gas. With new technologies in drilling, such as horizontal drilling and the ability to find reservoirs with 3-D seismic pictures, complex math formulas and more; smaller oil and gas companies have more potential than ever before.[i]

Companies rely on engineering skill to be able to design and implement their projects, and skilled technicians and service people to maintain productive wells. But recruiting oil and gas talent ahead of the majors and larger independents means you have to be prepared to compete.

Knowing the Job Market

Although many companies are currently in the midst of layoffs with current oil prices, overall growth in the oil and gas industry has been projected over the next decade. Below are the 2012 stats on petroleum engineers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, retrieved February, 2015. The BLS states: “Employment of petroleum engineers is projected to grow 26 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.”

Quick Facts: Petroleum Engineers
Median Pay $130,280 per year
$62.64 per hour
Entry Level Education Bachelor’s Degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-Job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2012 38,500
Job Outlook, 2012-22 26% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 9,800

It’s well known that oil and gas markets are cyclical, and jobs will rebound with the inevitable rise in oil prices. With good planning and careful vetting of candidates, the current climate could be leveraged to snag talent that may not otherwise be available.

Competing Against the Big Guys

Larger companies have departments and budgets for recruiting. To compete, you will need to set in place the same types of processes that they do. Your goal is to have the best people working for your company, whether an engineer, a production tech, a well supervisor, or reporting personnel. First, define the position, requirements, skills and experience needed. Set the benefits that you will be able to offer including salary, training, and supervision. Job seekers have these criteria as some of the things they are looking for:


  • History of employment
  • Competitive structure
  • Room for advancement
  • Long term growth of company


  • What is company policy
  • Reputation
  • What skills and abilities will be taught

Position Matching

  • Job description detailed
  • Skills, licenses, education requirements
  • Training identified


  • Collaboration with team members
  • Travel requirements
  • Guidance of experienced professionals
  • Areas of exposure to business within and externally


  • Salary range: according to SHRM, recruiting difficulties had the rate of increase for new-hire reflected an increase in compensation compared to the previous year.
  • Insurance: health, dental, vision, life
  • Retirement plans

Where to Have a Presence

With your position defined, you are ready to begin the recruiting process. Long gone are the days when you only had to post the job opening on a few job boards, then let them come to you. Now, job seekers are more mobile. Many begin their search with Google, and are then directed to Indeed, other job posting sites, company websites or a Facebook page. Less than 4 percent will have a company in mind. With evolving technologies and mobile apps, starting the application process with a click from a mobile device—then the ability to upload or link to a resume—will bring more responses. If all they need to receive an application is a name and an email address, your response rates will increase.

If you are recruiting, step number one is to have a careers or job opportunities page on your website. Your reputation as an employer will also be a key factor in job seekers selecting your company. For instance, coming in at number six amongst the best companies to work for in 2015 on, is Chevron. Creating your company profile and posting job openings on Glassdoor is another way to aggregate your search for postings.

LinkedIn is a great resource, boasting the largest group of candidate profiles. However, with recent changes the amount of available information has become more restricted. Recruiting via LinkedIn may require purchasing an upgraded account in order to access the tools you need as you seek out your next hire.

Another great (and sometimes overlooked) resource is job fairs. Job fairs and recruiting via higher education institutions gives your company the opportunity to put a face in front of job seekers. A personal connection will go a long way in your pursuit of the right candidate.