Barring an oil price snapback, 2016 will be a year of restructurings, asset sales, and more layoffs. As Schlumberger CEO Paal Kibsgaard said on recent call with investors: “The likely recovery in our activity levels now seems to be a 2017 event.”
So what are laid off workers to think? Is there any hope of finding a new job in this environment?
There are some bright spots, says Steve Morse of Russell Reynolds Associates. The “downstream” or refining sector has been booming, benefitting from access to cheap oil. “It’s the opposite of the upstream,” says Morse. “We are helping clients in the downstream attract functional talent” that in recent years had been attracted to the more glamorous upstream companies.
And there’s also still plenty of opportunities for talented younger executives. “The companies we work with recall the 1980s” when oil prices collapsed and “the majors stopped hiring at the university level for eight years,” says Morse. And they are not going to repeat that hiring moratorium because they saw the longterm damage it did to their workforce. Two decades later they woke to the realization that their best executives were all approaching retirement age, with too few mid-career execs being groomed to replace them.
“What’s keeping us so busy now is succession planning,” says Morse. “Companies are careful to ensure that they have been training and promoting younger people.”To read more of Morse's thoughts for those looking for work, click here.
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