Yes oil prices have dipped to 5-year lows, losing as much as 40 percent in just a few months. Yes companies like Halliburton are laying off workers. But if you are a skilled tradesmen, if you have multiple levels of certification and experience, chances are your employer is not letting you go anywhere. Prices are expected to start moving back up by summer.
The simple truth is it is always the newest and most unskilled workers who are always let go in times of slowdown. According to Cameron MacGillivary, president and CEO of Enform, most skilled workers jobs should be safe.
“Companies will tend to try and retain the more highly skilled and more experienced individuals on their staff. So, trying to retain their core staff,” says MacGillivary.
Cuts in capital spending come mostly at the exploratory level. That means contracted labor, not actual employees of the company. In fact, many believe if oil prices had not dropped, there was going to have to be a slowdown anyway. Many companies need time to further train their workers. Hiring was bound to slow down one way or another.
In fact, any overreaction right now would mean that lessons of the past have not been learned. One of the major problems moving into the latest oil and gas boom was a shortage of skilled workers. Massive layoffs right now would only put the oil and gas industry right back where they started: in a tough spot.
As for Halliburton, it’s important to remember that it is the exception, not the norm. Halliburton is right in the middle of a multi-billion dollar takeover of Baker Hughes. The timing couldn’t have been worse for Halliburton, and mostly those Halliburton workers who are being laid off as cost-cutting measures. Most oil and gas companies are still looking toward a future of job growth and further prosperity.