Africa oil and gas: Do you need a local or global recruitment partner?

May 13, 2019

Source: Yolanda Van Niekerk/Dreamstime 

There’s a lot of focus in the oil and gas industry on Africa at the moment, thanks to the recent discovery of large caches of natural gas across the continent and the east in particular.

This represents a dramatic shift in perception for the region, which until now has never been considered a major player in the global energy industry. Countries such as Mozambique and Tanzania are at the forefront of this shift: Mozambique alone has a recoverable reserves estimate of 3 trillion cubic metres (TCM) of natural gas, up from 3.1 BCM in 2010.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s recently discovered Brulpadda well is said to have over 1 billion recoverable barrels of oil equivalent.

As such, oil and gas companies are looking to move into Africa as soon as possible to unlock the continent’s enormous energy potential. However, those in senior positions know how difficult that can be – not least because many of them won’t have an African-based talent pipeline to draw from.

This has created a need for oil and gas companies in Africa to enlist recruitment partners. In turn, this presents them with a choice: should they work with their incumbent or global agencies, or should they strike up relationships with local recruiters?

Download The Global Energy Talent IndexVisit the GETI site to download the report

7 reasons to work with a global recruitment agency in Africa

There are sound arguments to work with a local recruitment partner. For one, it’s an easy way to ensure your provider has staff on the ground in the country you want to do business.

However, for oil and gas companies looking to get the best possible start in Africa, we believe working with the right global recruiter with a strong regional presence offers significant benefits on top of what a local firm can deliver. They include:


1: Compliance

The right oil and gas recruitment partner will have experience working, and managing compliance with labour and immigration laws, across many different countries – something that a local recruiter may not have. The ability to rely on your partner’s experience can be key to making your company as compliant as possible when moving into a new market and providing immigration services, relocation services and more, and can help your project run as smoothly as possible.


2: Regulation

Having a global as well as local presence means the right recruitment partner will have an understanding not only of a region’s existing regulatory frameworks, but any future changes that may occur in regards labour laws, immigration and more to stay as compliant and fluid as possible. Did you know, for instance, that South Africa may change its labour laws specifically to tackle high youth unemployment?


3: Consistency

Senior figures need to concentrate on their own roles, not recruitment. Global recruitment providers are specialists not just in understanding local regulatory frameworks and laws, but in recruiting the best workers and maintaining a strong talent pool. Consistency is key when it comes to maintaining a strong talent pipeline, to take the stress of recruitment away when new projects are commissioned.

4: Payroll

Another benefit of using a global recruitment partner over a local one is that they can also help navigate issues when it comes to international payroll. International payroll and tax laws can be complicated when moving workers into new regions. A consistent and experienced recruitment partner will help to reduce issues surrounding compliance and funding to keep projects running smoothly.

5: Local knowledge

Local knowledge and industry insight are essential to providing the best recruitment solutions on a global scale. A global partner with a worldwide presence (including local offices in region) will use its resources effectively to constantly keep abreast of a region’s cultural and political climate and any other changes that may potentially affect an energy project, to keep recruitment as agile as possible.

6: International reach

In new markets where the O&G industry is new or recent, the talent pool of experienced suitable candidates is very small. Working with a global recruitment partner will give you access to the best available talent for the project both locally, and from around the world. A well-known and trusted global recruiter also offers consistency and comfort to international contractors on overseas assignments, where compliance, safety and service are critical in ensuring a positive working environment.


7: Experience

Global recruitment providers set themselves apart from local players with the depth of their industry experience. At Airswift, for example, we have over 35 years’ experience in the oil and gas industry. We’re a truly global presence with over 60 offices worldwide, staff projects for supermajors, and have a 93% fill rate on all roles, thanks to our ability to understand the wants and needs of our clients.


The Airswift team is here to help oil and gas companies tap into the potentially lucrative African market. Airswift has been operating in Africa for over 10 years and has an extensive network of offices and partnerships providing effective and compliant solutions.

Download The Global Energy Talent IndexVisit the GETI site to download the report

This post was written by: Richard Clay, Business Development Director – Africa at Airswift