Recruitment of new employees for oil and gas companies outside the Gulf region has slowed down, but businesses in the UAE and the rest of the Middle East continue to push forward with hiring, a new report reveals.
As of the first three months of the year, businesses such as Saudi Aramco are still recruiting expatriates, especially those from the West who have "specific unconventional experience," according to the latest Hays Oil & Gas Global Index.
Jobs in demand include predictive maintenance team leader and static equipment engineering team leader, which both command a monthly salary of $9,000 to $11,500 (Dh33,000 to Dh42,000) in Dubai.
"The Middle East [and Asia] both show an increase in hiring activity compared to the previous quarter, albeit below [the first quarter of 2014," said John Faraguna, managing director of Hays Oil & Gas.
The index, which provides a measure of month-to-month jobs posted online, shows that the full effect of the oil price decline is now being felt in many companies around the world, including those based in North America, South America, Africa and Russia, among others.
The global index dropped from 1.16 to 0.95 in the first quarter of the year, a decline of 28 per cent from December 2014 and a 42 per cent drop year-on-year.
"The effect of the downturn is now being fully realized, as operating and service companies across all oil and gas regions implement strategies and cost measures to ensure they continue to remain profitable," Hays said in a recent report.
Among the hardest hit are companies in North America, where oil and gas projects facing financial constraints are being cut or delayed. The decision of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) not to cut production has also hit the job market growth in parts of South America, especially Venezuela.
In Europe, the job market is feeling the impact of the cost of producing North Sea oil and the slow up-take of fracking and shale exploration in the region.
Hiring has also dropped to its lowest levels in six years In the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region.
Oil and gas companies based in Africa are likewise putting a hold on plans to expand their payrolls and as a result, the African job index dropped below the first quarter 2011 levels.
Recruitment activity in Australia is also slowing down as "LNG projects are moving out of design and construction phases and into operational status."
In contrast, hiring activity in the Middle East, as well as in Asia, remains strong. Employee recruitment in the Middle East is forecast to remain "relatively strong" throughout the second and third quarters of 2015, but analysts at Hays could not tell if the recruitment activity will return to 2014 levels.
As to why the Middle East' job market looks unaffected while the other markets are taking a beating from the oil price decline, Hays said the region "continues to push forward with infrastructure projects" amid all the gloom.