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Oil and gas industry downturn could benefit contractors

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Contractors with experience in the oil or gas industries, especially those who have related IT skills and engineering qualifications, could be in demand despite the ongoing downturn of both industries if they know how to make the most of the opportunities available. A report released this week by a firm of consultants has revealed that recruiters in the oil and gas sectors are optimistic about the future, even though there are signs of a slump currently.

The drive to redesign processes and use IT solutions to reduce costs are part of the plans that many gas and oil clients are making in order to ensure ongoing sustainability in the sector. Contractors who could contribute to any of these processes should be able to capitalise on the need for their expertise by targeting potential recruiters carefully and ensuring that they focus their efforts on those areas where their specific abilities are most needed.

Because these industries rely on tight schedules and the work involved is often on complex projects, the cost of hiring and retaining contractors has been pushed up significantly in the last few years. However, the potential for investment in cost-saving measures during the downturn could be a counter-intuitive way to protect the long-term future of the industry.

The report has identified two different types of oil and gas clients – the ‘profit confident’ who are investing in exploration and research and the ‘profit pessimistic’ of which only a minority are planning any significant investment. Contractors who are seeking work should identify those ‘profit confident’ companies which are hiring and match their skills to the specific needs of those businesses. Because investment in processes and IT systems requires a degree of creativity and innovation, contractors who have the skills and experience will be sought-after amongst companies which are hoping to maximise their cost efficiencies by buying in specific skills.

Although skills shortages have been a barrier to growth in recent years, the falling prices have now been identified as a more pressing concern. However, with 71 per cent of businesses in the sector currently planning to either maintain their current headcount or recruit in the near future, demand could remain high despite the slump.

With many of the posts coming up requiring specialist support staff with technical skills and industry knowledge, contractors who are keeping their skills current and matching them to potential employers should be able to profit from the situation.

If you have skills which could make you employable in the oil and gas sector, or indeed in any other, then our FREE 60-page guide to contracting gives you plenty of hints and tips on how to succeed in your chosen sector. Our take-home pay calculator will give you some idea about how much you could expect to earn and our contractor tax guide can help you with the basics of the process.

For information about how our accountants could help you to manage your finances and plan for your future, give us a call on 01442 275789 or email newbusiness@sjdaccountancy.com.

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