The future for contractors within the oil and gas industry

Due to the crash in oil prices, contract opportunities within the UK’s oil and gas market are expected to remain limited for the time being. However, firms within the industry remain positive that the market will pick up before the end of the year.

Contractors who are short on work may use this time as an opportunity to explore freelance work or assist with mergers in the oil industry. The downturn in work could lead to skills shortages; therefore clients of contractors are encouraged to engage with them despite this.

The impact on clients

In a recent report, respondents expected economic stability and a shortfall in talent to be the two key threats to development for the next year. This is having a strain on clients, who have found cuts in staff have impacted productivity and in turn have increased pressure within the workplace. To relieve this pressure, clients should plan for the future, if oil prices are to rise in the next year.

To reduce the threat of skills shortages and ultimately a higher demand for contractors, clients are advised to plan ahead. Implementing a succession plan may help retain staff levels and talent and also alleviate pressures within the workplace.

What about the contractors?

A shortfall in talent could be a real threat to the industry, with one survey finding 32% of oil and gas workers recently lost their jobs or were made redundant. Over 70% of these respondents said they were looking for work prospects further afield; opportunities such as working freelance or self employed may be viable, though might not provide long-term job security. However, if oil prices are set to rise again, these workers may find contracting services in higher demand than ever.

Opportunities for the future

Due to a number of high profile mergers and acquisitions within the industry, further job cuts are expected. Although only 37% of companies surveyed plan to increase staff numbers in the next year, short-term work opportunities to assist with integrations for an umbrella company could increase for skilled contractors.

A growing problem for contractors is the decline in oil and gas salaries, which have decreased by 1.4% in the past year. But this trend is consistent with most markets and almost 60% of firms expect salaries to rise in the coming years.