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Oil Companies Pony Up To Hold Onto Older Workers Longer

Even with nearly 1 million Texans unemployed, the oil and gas industry is still having trouble attracting new workers as older ones prepare to retire.


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David Vaucher looks at workforce issues in oil companies all over the world, in his role as an associate director for economic research firm IHS CERA. He lists a lack of technical expertise and drug abuse as two factors that thin the ranks of potential recruits.

“On the top of that, there has to be motivation on the side of the employee to handle the conditions in the field, which can be very harsh. So it’s long times away from home, very extreme conditions, that could be the cold or the heat, and so there could be a turnover problem there.”

As they struggle to find qualified younger workers, oil companies are trying to convince older ones to stick around longer.

“There are a lot of people who are very experienced who have gone on as consultants, and they tend to stay around because the compensation is good or just enjoy doing what they’re doing.”

The average age of an oilfield worker is 60 years old. Roughly half the workforce in the industry is expected to retire over the next decade.


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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media's coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media's business reporter, covering the oil...

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