Nearly a Quarter of Oil and Gas Employees Intend to Leave Their Current Position within the Year, Survey Finds

Chicago, April 27, 2007 -- As more oil and gas workers edge towards retirement age and the number of college graduates entering the field continues to fall short of demand, the competition for top talent in the industry is heating up. Nearly a quarter (23 percent) of workers in the industry say they intend to leave their current position by the end of this year, according to a recent survey. While the majority (52 percent) say their primary motivation for leaving their jobs will be for better pay and/or career advancement, 16 percent cite retirement and nine percent intend to change careers.

When it comes to compensation and moving ahead, the survey reveals that oil and gas employees’ expectations are not being met by some employers. More than one-third (35 percent) of oil and gas workers say they did not get a raise in 2006 and only 10 percent report getting a promotion. Nearly one-third (31 percent) feel like they have been overlooked for a promotion. In terms of career advancement, 37 percent are dissatisfied with their opportunities at their current position and 28 percent are dissatisfied with the training and learning opportunities.

Employees are also finding it difficult to juggle work and home responsibilities as nearly a one-third (31 percent) of oil and gas workers say they are dissatisfied with work/life balance. Forty-six percent say their workload has increased from six months before, with more than half (54 percent) categorizing their workload as heavy or too heavy. Burning the midnight oil may be contributing to the imbalance. Thirty-seven percent of oil and gas workers say they work more than 40 hours per week, with nearly one in five (19 percent) working more than 50 hours per week and one in ten working more than 60 hours.

In order to address the shrinking labor pool, more than one-in-five (22 percent) employers across all industries, say they will rehire retirees from other companies or provide incentives for workers at or approaching retirement age to stay with the company beyond retirement age. Seventy-eight percent report they are willing to recruit workers who don't have experience in their particular industry or field and provide training/certifications needed. More than four out of five (82 percent) employers across all industries plan to raise salaries of current employees in 2007, with nearly one-fifth (19 percent) planning to raise salaries by five percent or more. Eighty one percent of employers report they are willing to increase workplace flexibility, which in many cases includes flexible hours, telecommuting and job sharing.

"Oil and gas is a highly competitive industry and, as the amount of available skilled labor tightens, employers will need to develop more aggressive recruitment and retention strategies," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of Human Resources at "Employers will be challenged to find distinctive benefits programs that will simultaneously inspire loyalty of long-time employees and help oil and gas companies compete with other industries for new talent."

When looking for a new job, 30 percent of Oil and Gas employees cite a good work culture as the most important factor, followed by career advancement opportunities (20 percent). The company’s position in the marketplace is also important to oil and gas job seekers, who name stability of the company (17 percent) and profitability (11 percent) as key draws. More than one in ten (11 percent) say the ability to offer flexible schedule is the most important factor. In fact, if oil and gas workers could pick their own 8 hour workday, 34 percent say they would choose 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Haefner recommends the following tips to improve recruitment and retention efforts:

1) Break through the clutter - Treat your job posting like a candidate treats a resume. Communicate an employee brand that is accomplishment-based, highlighting growth and stability, work culture, career advancement, etc. Include testimonials from current employers and showcase examples of employees who have worked their way to the top.

2) Get specific - The more definitive you can be in a job posting, the better your chance of attracting qualified candidates. Everyone says competitive salaries and benefits - define what that means in your organization. Outline what flexible schedules and work/life balance programs entail, specifically address the training/courses available to employees in the first quarter, first year, etc.

3) Check your workplace temperature - Measure employee satisfaction levels regularly whether it be through informal discussions or organization-wide surveys. If necessary, create action plans and implementation dates with employee input and deliver on what’s promised.

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of among 2627 Employers (employed full-time; not self employed; with at least some involvement in hiring decisions), and 92 Oil and Gas employees (employed full-time; not self employed; with no involvement in hiring decisions) ages 18 and over within the United States between November 17 and December 11, 2006. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

With a pure probability sample of 2627 one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 2 percentage points. With a pure probability sample of 92 one could say with a ninety-five percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 10 percentage points. Sampling error for data from subsamples is higher and varies. However that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

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