Job woes ahead for Aussies

THE job market is not expected to improve for oil and gas professionals as companies look to optimise efficiency, according to a just released salary report.

Haydn Black

According to the 2015-16 Michael Page Australia Salary and Employment Outlook, negative economic conditions, combined with project life cycle have led to a decline in demand for oil and gas professionals, with the fluctuations in the market set to continue.

According to report findings, the majority (61%) of oil and gas employers do not expect to increase headcount over the next 12 months.

This slow job flow is compounded by the lack of economic confidence, as more than a third (36%) of oil and gas employers rate the current national economy as ‘poor’.

“As the main focus now for oil and gas companies is driving efficiencies and improvements across maintenance and operations, we don’t expect to see a big increase in hiring,” Michael Page Australia regional director Robert Lyster said.

“Efficiency is currently key because of the drop in oil price and many people over the last year were forced to take a pay cut of around 10-20%.”

There is also low industry confidence, as 43% of oil and gas employers rate their overall confidence within the oil and gas industry as poor.

The negative sentiment is reflected in their financial intentions, with 68% of employers not planning to reward their staff with a salary increase over the next 12 months.

“Looking ahead, there will be some cautious optimism,” Lyster said.

“However, with current oil prices, many projects will not be viewed as commercially viable at this stage, but there could be a significant opportunity when the price rises again.”

The main attraction and retention method is job security, however, there has been an increase from last year in businesses offering flexible working arrangements.

Many (71%) oil and gas employers are offering flexible working hours as part of their work/life balance initiative, while 48% are offering the option to work from home.

The Michael Page survey follows last week report from rival recruiter Hays, which also found salaries have fallen considerably in Queensland’s vaunted oil and gas scene and cutbacks have been rife in Western Australia.

The end of the build phase of the last boom and the fall in oil and gas prices has led to an over-supply of oil field workers across the value chain.

Hays said salary expectations remained high and will need to be tempered.

The downturn in resources jobs comes as the Australian economy is actually adding jobs, with the unemployment rate now around 6%.

The statistics demonstrate a growing optimism within the employment market as slowly it shows that there is momentum in the broader aspects of the economy.

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