By Irina Slav
Anadarko Petroleum and Chevron have emerged as the top two employers in U.S. oil and gas, according to a survey conducted by the job site Indeed. The top five for the industry was completed by Plains All American at #3, Occidental Petroleum at #4, and Noble Energy at #5.
Indeed said that it ranked companies based on a number of factors but generally speaking, the better the site visitor ratings and reviews a company had, the higher it ranked on the “Best Places to Work” list.
The site has 200 million unique visitors monthly, lending credibility to its findings. The reviews and ratings it collected to compile the rankings included postings from current and former employees.
These, in the case of Anadarko, Chevron, and the rest of the best, praised the companies for their corporate culture, the compensation they received, the attractive work/life balance offered by the employer, and the good working environment, including additional training opportunities.
Besides praise, however, there was also criticism. For Anadarko, the reviews quoted by Oil and Gas 360 in the release of the survey seemed to focus on the management style that the employees were not particularly happy with. For Chevron, unsurprisingly, the “Cons” side of the reviews referred to the massive layoffs – 8,000 as of last April.
According to Indeed data, the number of new oil and gas job postings had inched up at the end of 2016, after taking a dive for most of the year, with sector players struggling to adjust to the new oil price environment and focusing on cost cuts, which are more often than not incompatible with new hiring or even employee retention.
This may change if the adjustment proves successful, and it seems there is a ready pool of former workers that are ready to return. A study by the University of Houston has found that about 60 percent of laid off oil and gas employees – out of 720 respondents – are still out of work. The study is ongoing, so the figures are not final, but for the time being they look promising for those who may want to start hiring again.
Others, however, have found new employment outside the energy industry, the study’s authors said, with just 13 percent of the sample finding new jobs in oil and gas. Those that defected to other industries may not return to oil and gas when the hiring environment changes, and one of the authors notes that this could turn into a problem for oil and gas employers.
The problem, Christiane Spitzmuller goes on to say, would translate into higher recruitment and training costs. These will need to be added to higher drilling and maintenance costs as oilfield service providers get to call the shots now that oil is a bit higher and E&Ps are ramping up production.
The potential hiring problem is aggravated by sentiment among former employees. According to the University of Houston study, over 70 percent of respondents said they were nervous about the future of the industry, with some 55 percent planning to leave oil and gas for good.
This is perfectly understandable in the context of some 215,000 layoffs in U.S. oil and gas –the same could occur during the next price crash. Still, energy companies could still lure at least some employees back, if they can keep up the benefits that made Anadarko, Chevron and Plains All American “Best Places to Work.”