The global boom in energy production driven by fracking and horizontal drilling is leading to a shortage of skilled workers. A new report by the human resources firm Mercer says two-thirds of oil and gas companies are now poaching employees from their competitors.
"The industry seems inclined when an individual is trained and developed by a competitor to, especially in the first five years of employment, go after that key talent, as opposed to training and developing their own," says Philip Tenenbaum, a senior partner at Mercer.
He says in some cases, the practice has become quite overt.
"An employer simply sends an email to key employees at a competitor with a job offer at a 50 percent salary increase, without a need for an interview," Tenenbaum says. "Not necessarily in the U.S. at this point, but I can see it coming [here]."
That report says the labor shortage is being driven by three major factors: an aging workforce; rapid advances in technology that are changing skill requirements; and a lack of education in science, technology, engineering and math.
“If somebody came to me on the Gulf Coast, some high-school kid, and said, ‘I don’t know what to do with my life,’ I’d tell him, ‘Learn to weld,'" Jim Ivany with Bechtel Corp., the biggest U.S. construction contractor, told Bloomberg News.