Almost 4 in 10 people say the oil & gas skills shortage is due to inadequate succession planning


Malaysia’s oil & gas employers need to focus on succession planning if they want to overcome the skills shortage, say 37 per cent of the industry’s professionals. That’s one of the key findings in the sixth annual Oil & Gas Salary Guide (the Guide), produced by recruiting experts Hays Oil & Gas.


The Guide also found that, at the time of the survey, the average Malaysian salary for an oil and gas professional was $US60,782.


The Guide is based on a survey of more than 45,000 oil and gas professionals across 25 disciplines in 188 countries worldwide. Significantly, 10,000 respondents were employers or hiring managers within the industry.


The survey was completed between September and November 2014, before the oil price started to fall. Therefore, due to the timing of the survey, the fall in oil prices has not been fully reflected in the Guide.  The effect of the price drop can be seen today across all regions as projects are delayed, paused or cancelled. Consequently hiring plans will be reviewed, and we have already seen some retrenchments in Malaysia.


Malaysia findings:

The Guide shows that in Malaysia’s oil & gas market at the time of the survey:

·         The overall average salary for an oil & gas worker was $US60,782

·         77 per cent of the workforce received benefits;

·         The most common benefits were bonuses (awarded to 45 per cent of employees), health plan (42 per cent), training (33 per cent), car, transport or petrol (32 per cent), home leave allowance (23 per cent), retirement plan (20 per cent) and meal allowance (also 20 per cent);

·         37 per cent said inadequate succession planning for knowledge transfer and skills retention was the main cause of the skills shortage.

·         16 per cent were female (the highest gender ratio in APAC – compared to 13 per cent in Australia, 11 per cent in Singapore and 6 per cent in China);

·         78 per cent were local, while 22 per cent were expatriates;

·         95 per cent of the workforce would consider an international role for their next move, which was higher than the global average of 91 per cent;

·         62 per cent were permanent employees, while 38 per cent were on contracts (27 per cent direct and 11 per cent through an agency);


“Malaysianisation resulted in an uplift in salaries for local workers at the time of our survey,” says Tom Osborne, Country Manager of Hays in Malaysia. “This was particularly evident in the geoscience area where companies, mainly operators, were vying for talented local professionals who have the skills to assume the technical and staff development roles traditionally held by expats.


“The downturn in the oil price does not have an immediate effect on salaries. However the longer the oil price stays low, the greater the impact will be on overall staffing demand, which will ultimately impact salaries as competition for jobs increases.”


Other key global findings:

In key global findings, 95 per cent of oil and gas professionals have said that salary is the most important factor when weighing up the decision to take a new role. Ninety-two per cent of job seekers judge company reputation as a crucial element in their decision making process when considering new job opportunities.


To attract top talent, 72 per cent of employers felt they had to make improvements to their employee offering in the last year, including training and development, compensation and rewards.


Skills shortages (for 29.8 per cent of employers in the survey) were expected to be the biggest concern. However economic instability was second (for 24 per cent of employers in the survey), reflecting the changing economics of the industry.


“Since we collated the data the industry has been through unprecedented times,” says John Faraguna, Managing Director of Hays Oil & Gas. “Projects with attractive economics are likely to continue, but new projects will come under increased scrutiny and, if no longer economically viable under the new oil price regime, could be postponed or cancelled. However, teams managing day to day operations still require the resources necessary to complete projects on time and within budget. At the other end of the spectrum, smaller businesses are responding to recent changes by focussing on interim hiring, shifting from multi-year contracts to short-term specialist assignments.”    


Download a free copy of the Guide at or view online at


Hays is located in Kuala Lumpur at Suite 4 & 5, Level 23, Menara 3, Petronas, Kuala Lumpur City Centre.  Phone +60 3 2786 8600 or email



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