Written by: Matt Wolstenholme
HR departments usually build relationships with recruitment agencies to help them navigate problems when searching for new talent.
The relationship between HR and recruiters can be a fractious one, though. As experienced executive headhunter Caroline Stokes admits in Forbes, recruiting has an image problem.
This is as prevalent in the oil and gas industry as anywhere else, where HR departments for large energy firms can be inundated with offers from agencies that simply don’t align with their values or solve their problems.
This pain point is particularly sensitive at the moment, with the 2019 Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) highlighting that the sector is currently in the throes of a talent shortage. Of GETI’s 17,000 respondents from 162 countries, 40% believe a talent crisis is already here while 28% feel it will hit within the next five years.
That puts enormous pressure on HR departments and project management teams to find the very best talent quickly to staff global expansion projects. They simply don’t have the time or resources to work with a “bottom of the barrel” agency that over promises and under delivers.
So, if you’re a HR professional for a large energy firm, how can you choose a recruitment agency that you know will add strategic value for your business? We recommend looking at the following five factors as a starting point.
One of the first things you should look at when weighing up a potential recruitment partner is their portfolio – the companies they’ve worked with, the projects they’ve staffed and their experience in specific regions across the globe. Look for a proven track record in delivering for firms and projects with a similar scale to yours, as well as a presence on the ground in the places you intend to focus your recruitment efforts.
As the oil and gas industry is heavily reliant on contingent labour, the most reputable recruitment agencies in the sector should have access to pre-existing talent pools that can be drawn on for rapid mobilisation on new projects. For HR, evidence of a pre-existing relationship between talent and recruiter can offer both peace of mind in the quality of candidates supplied and assurance that roles will be filled quickly and efficiently.
To access the market intelligence necessary to make informed hiring decisions can be costly and add resource pressures on HR departments, so it makes sense to get this from a recruitment partner where possible.
A specialist oil and gas recruitment company should have access to insights such as average salaries for specific roles in specific regions, hiring rates, and other information that can provide their clients with a competitive advantage when it comes to staffing. Find out if your potential partner can provide that info.
When staffing a major project in any location considerations should also include whether your agency can provide accommodation, transport, specialist tooling and safety equipment and any other support services.
A specialist oil and gas recruitment company should not only have access to insights such as the going rates for salaried and contract positions, but also an understanding of the supply and demand for talent in different regions based on local talent pools, new and concluding projects, incentives and geopolitical pressures.
Compliance is one of the biggest challenges currently facing HR, especially those who regularly need to staff projects in various regions with different regulatory regimes to consider.
The right recruitment partner should not only be able to help companies navigate this landscape, but also lift the burden from HR when it comes to being current with the latest regional laws and regulations that affect workforce decisions.
Finally – and as obvious as it may sound – you need to explore the services they offer and whether they’d actually be a good fit to work with alongside your wider expansion plans.
Are they able to offer mobilisation and talent acquisition, for instance? As good as a recruiter could be, it makes no sense to partner with them if they aren’t able to transition your workforce safely and compliantly across the globe for new projects.
Most major oil and gas projects are executed across multiple sites. For example, a project could begin in a London design office, expand to fabrication yards in Asia before arriving onshore or offshore at their final destination in South America, Africa or the Middle East. Will your recruiter be able to manage those staff transitions safely and legally to guarantee minimal project disruption?
Airswift has a 93% fill rate and works with the supermajors to staff strategic projects across the world.
Ours is a truly personable and specialist recruitment service, and we pride ourselves on providing insight and assistance to HR departments when they need help recruiting and making informed decisions about the company’s workforce.
This post was written by Matt Wolstenholme, Contract Recruitment Director – Asia Pacific at Airswift