Top oil and gas employment trends to look out for in 2024

January 2, 2024

Worker in red overalls inspecting oil field machinery

Source: dgdimension/Shutterstock

The impact of AI in the oil and gas sector: Insights from the 2024 GETI report

Launched in 2017, the Global Energy Talent Index (GETI) Report charts emerging trends across the world’s energy workforce. Since its inception, GETI has gathered insights from thousands of professionals to create a comprehensive map of the energy landscape. Providing organisations with the tools to refresh their skills base and retain talent.

This year’s GETI report explores the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and how it’s reshaping the energy industry, from job roles to skills in demand. 

In this article, we’ll delve into how the industry is currently approaching AI adoption and focus on oil and gas employment trends related to salaries, global mobility, and skills demand.

The article is divided into the following sections:

Pay optimism remains high for the oil and gas sector

The oil and gas industry has seen rapid salary growth across the sector. However, this year’s GETI report reveals that this has begun to flatten amidst falling fuel prices. 

Hiring managers had a more positive outlook than professionals, with 62% reporting a pay increase over the last year, compared to 54% in the previous year.

However, pay optimism is higher than last year, with 69% of professionals expecting a raise over the next 12 months (up from 66% last year). Hiring managers are also optimistic about salary expectations over the next year, with 72% anticipating a pay increase. 

Pay change percentages in energy sector

Oil and gas firms should conduct regular market salary assessments to ensure competitive compensation packages. It’s also important to implement performance-based incentives and bonuses to help motivate your workforce, meet their salary expectations and retain top talent

Opportunity is a significant barrier to global mobility 

Known for being globally mobile, the oil and gas industry’s workforce is used to moving to different areas to work on global projects. 

Therefore, it’s no surprise that 83% of professionals would consider relocating, compared to 81% last year. Moreover, 61% of companies now offer overseas transfers, up 4% from last year. 

Europe is the most desirable destination for relocation, although the number of those willing to relocate there has fallen from 29 to 26% since last year. This is followed by the Middle East (23%) and Asia (15%). North America dropped out of the top three this year, with 13% stating it as their chosen destination for relocation. 

Pie chart showing preferred global locations for energy workers

Career progression remains the biggest driver for overseas relocation. This is followed by lifestyle, cost of living and remuneration.

On the flipside, the biggest barrier to relocation is proximity to family. 34% of professionals cite this as the reason why they wouldn’t move for work. 20% said that their employer doesn’t offer opportunities for relocation, suggesting that mobility levels might be impacted by opportunity. 

Oil and gas skills are in high demand

Despite 87% of workers considering a job switch over the next twelve months, the majority (61%) said they would stay in oil and gas. 

Of the 40% that said they would change industries completely, 50% would move to the renewables sector. This is unsurprising considering that ESG (environmental, social and governance) were the third biggest driver for those considering moving careers.

Chart showing percentage of workers considering job switch to renewables

Career progression opportunities and interest in the wider industry motivate those looking to switch jobs. Engineers in particular, are driven by flexible working models and technology. 

Regarding talent retention, employers should be aware that oil and gas skills are in demand, not just within the sector but across the wider industry. 81% of workers reported being headhunted for another job, and 12% have been approached more than 16 times since last year. 9% of engineers reported being approached more than 21 times by employers looking to hire them. 

A quarter of those surveyed said that all approaches came from outside of the oil and gas sector, but it’s worth noting that only 19% considered joining another industry. Of those respondents, 26% said they would move to the technology industry, the second lowest proportion of any sector.

These findings indicate that the oil and gas industry primarily desires individuals with oil and gas skills. However, there is a rising interest in renewable energy among this workforce, which is mobile, ambitious, and environmentally conscious. Employers must consider providing opportunities for their employees to lead more sustainable innovations if they want to retain their talent. 

The oil and gas workforce is technologically conservative

One-third of oil and gas companies have an AI policy. However, the sector is not very advanced in AI adoption. Only 24% of oil and gas employers use AI in their work. 19% of workers are unsure if their company has an AI policy, the highest percentage in the energy sector. 

Usage of AI in oil and gas industry chart

Oil and gas companies primarily use AI for immediate needs, such as safety, inspection, automated workflow, and collaboration. However, AI tools were the least popular among oil and gas professionals.

Machine learning and generative AI, such as ChatGPT, are commonly used in the sector. Approximately 15% of workers utilise these technologies. Artificial General Intelligence is also utilised, but to a lesser extent, with only 12% of workers using it. However, these percentages are significantly lower compared to other sectors. 

This is perhaps unsurprising, as oil and gas is a mature sector with significant skills in traditional technologies. This suggests that AI uptake might be slower compared to newer sectors like renewables. However, AI has many potential functions for oil and gas, such as enabling more carbon-efficient production and helping workers to optimise carbon capture

The sector’s biggest barrier to AI adoption is a lack of clarity about which tools would best fit the company. This is followed by insufficient investment or employee support. 47% of respondents are optimistic about AI, the second lowest of any sector.

The workforce has several concerns about the potential risks posed by AI. 40% worry about insufficient human contact, 32% fear insufficient training causing misuse, and 28% are concerned about cybersecurity risks.

Graph on perceived AI risks in oil and gas sector

Despite these figures, there is some optimism surrounding AI in the oil and gas workforce. 71% of those surveyed believe that AI adoption will increase productivity, while 62% feel it will increase pressure to learn new skills. 58% expect to experience improved job satisfaction due to AI use, and 43% anticipate salary increases as a result. 

Statistics on AI expectations in the workplace

Skills in demand for the year ahead 

94% of respondents believe AI will increase demand for certain skills, which are also associated with anticipated risks. The top skills people want are programming, software engineering, cybersecurity, and data science

However, training priorities don’t seem fully aligned with skills needs. Despite being among the top three most sought-after skills, professionals expressed little interest in developing IT and cybersecurity skills. This indicates potential skills shortages in these areas if training isn’t implemented.

Chart on future skills demand in the oil and gas sector

Download the full GETI report 

Would you like to learn more about oil and gas employment trends expected to shape the sector in 2024? Get all the latest insights and information on trends across the rest of the energy industry in the 2024 GETI report. Download it today

Download the GETI report 2024


This post was written by: Callum Donaldson, Vice President of Business Development & Sales