NES Global Talent, the technical manpower specialist, expects there to be a sharper focus on recruiting women into the oil and gas industry in 2014 as the war for talent continues to intensify.

“As we are all acutely aware, despite making up half of the workforce, women have traditionally been underrepresented in the oil and gas engineering sector,” said Simon Coton, Managing Director at NES Global Talent. “While a great deal is being done to encourage young women to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the STEM subjects, this gender disparity continues to exist. We have heard stories of clients not wanting to publicise the women they do have on their books, for fear of them getting poached by rival firms. In addition, the ex-military talent pool has the potential to help plug the talent gap given the range of transferrable skills service leavers have and this is an area we are seeing an increased interest in from clients.”

Simon added that the Middle East, in particular Iraq and the United Arab Emirates, Houston in North America, South Korea and China in Asia and Angola and Nigeria in Africa would remain hotspots for exploration, production and construction activity, with a host of new opportunities presenting themselves across all of these regions.

“The market in Brazil has slowed due to a number of well publicised issues but activity is sure to pick up over the coming year,” said Simon. “We are seeing an increase in oil and gas related shipyard activity, which is positive, and means that there are jobs available for people with transferrable skills, and with the football World Cup being held in the country next year there’s plenty going on. The lull won’t last long.”

“With some of the world’s largest shale and offshore reserves, all eyes are currently on the massive resource potential of Mexico. A handful of companies have already taken the initial steps of registering in the country in anticipation of more private-sector participation in the coming years, and dependent on the outcome of the forthcoming energy reforms, this region is one to watch in 2014.”

He said that elsewhere in North America, NES Global Talent is seeing increased activity across the Gulf of Mexico, including New Orleans, where the company recently opened a new office, and in Alaska. “Also In Canada, if huge pipeline projects such as the Energy East Pipeline and the Northern Gateway get the green light then things will get very busy, very quickly,” Simon added.

In the UK, the first nuclear plant to be built in 20 years, Hinkley Point C, is due to come online in 2023, creating over 25,000 jobs. “This agreement is fantastic in terms of job creation but will also impact on the talent available for the oil and gas industry. There are only so many skilled engineers to go around and the nuclear industry could find itself facing a similar talent crisis to that being experienced by the oil and gas sector.” added Simon.

“In order to hang onto skilled workers, international oil and gas companies are recruiting more permanent staff than ever before and this is a trend we expect to continue in 2014. The ability to attract and retain local content is crucial to our client’s success and we are restructuring our business to ensure we continue to attract and place increased numbers of permanent workers.”