Job uncertainty in WA’s oil and gas market
Author – Emma Britton
In an industry where profitability and job certainty are directly linked to its commodity price, oil and gas has seen its fair share of overwhelming peaks and troughs.
After a decade of volatility, companies have been forced to shed staff and implement frugal strategies to survive. And in recent years, many projects in Western Australia were stalled or delayed resulting in a scarce job market.
And although the oil price has recovered significantly, companies are still hesitant to recruit and hire permanent staff as they have done previously, making the industry a highly competitive one.
So, what does this mean for Western Australians in the industry? And how can you manage job uncertainty?
Well the answer isn’t black and white, and varies depending on the discipline, but at the core – industry participants need to be flexible, adaptable, committed and unafraid to seek help.
Here are four ways to keep up with the job market.
Be flexible – Be prepared to broaden your scope of work and responsibilities. Employers are looking for people who can quickly adapt to new technologies, champion innovative processes and have a broad understanding across numerous areas. With tightened budgets, companies are looking for cost saving initiatives and employees who challenge old processes and present new ideas. Be willing to take on challenges that broaden your skillset.
Many oil and gas companies are hiring short term contractors to assist with certain projects, if you’re out of work, don’t be afraid to take on contract work to diversify your skills in the short term. These opportunities can lead to permanency and provide you with tangible experience to adapt to the changing market.
Don’t get complacent – The technology boom has well and truly begun and with it brings automation like never before. New technologies are developed to work smarter and more efficiently and personnel must adapt to changing processes. A company’s bottom line is one of their biggest concerns and if there is a quicker and more cost-effective way to achieve an outcome, it will always win.
Re-train, upskill and be proactive – be aware of the automations that may impact your role into the future and what you need to do to stay relevant.
Nurture your networks – Western Australia may be a big state in its sheer size, but the oil and gas industry is relatively small and tight knit. Attend networking events, take time to meet with your peers and make sure your leaders know who you are and why you are important to the company. Women in Oil and Gas hosts frequent networking events throughout the year, giving peers the chance to foster relationships; and enable like-minded people to come together and share their industry insights and experiences. You can also promote your personal brand through your LinkedIn profile, this is an extremely effective tool for business people to connect and research the job market. Having an up to date and detailed LinkedIn profile will help you to stand out and get noticed.
Don’t be afraid to seek out a mentor. Women in Oil and Gas run a mentoring program which links senior and experienced industry professionals with people looking for guidance and advice on particular aspects of their career. The program provides an environment for people to openly share their experiences and a sounding board for those seeking clarification on facets of their job.
Be committed and prepared for change – Not every aspect of your role may be in your control, but your performance is. Hard work, commitment and confidence in your abilities will go a long way in the oil and gas industry, particularly in a time like the present, where jobs are scarce and productivity and resilience will be your best tools to succeed.
If you are experiencing uncertainty in your job or would like to know more about how to adapt to the ever-changing industry, become a Women in Oil and Gas member womeninoilandgas.com.au