Oil & Gas industry facing major labor shortage, group holds job fair to attract workers

Gas and oil industry looking for more workers
Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 10:41 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The oil & gas industry is facing a major labor shortage, and the pandemic has made the situation even more complicated.

Millions of people were forced out of a job due to COVID, and businesses are struggling to fill these open positions.

Companies in the oil and gas industry are making it known that they need people to return to work, and job seekers like James Simmerman have taken notice.

“Right now, to have so many industries trying to put that out there is a big deal and it should be taken advantage of,” Simmerman said.

On Thursday, Oct. 21, Industry of Faith Louisiana and River Parishes Community College hosted its 4th annual Oil & Gas Job Fair.

Dozens of companies met a wide range of job seekers looking to jump into the business.

“If you stop to think about what an economic driver is, it’s an oil and gas industry for us in Louisiana,” said Bruce Waguespack, account manager for Enginuity Global.

Experts estimates 115,000 jobs were lost because of COVID in the oil industry alone, according to a recent study.

For an industry that’s so important to Louisiana, the need for more workers is critical.

“Everyone in Louisiana either services oil and gas, works directly in oil and gas, or ties to it some way or another,” said Amanda Polkey, Sales Manager for Complete Logistical Services.

Officials say these jobs are slowly coming back, but industries still struggling to hire.

Experts told us a big part is an aging workforce, and younger people just don’t want to get into the business.

“People start to look at those retirement succession plans when their workforce hits about the age of 50, because in the next 10, 15, 20 years they’re going to be exiting those people out with retirement. So, especially in the most seasoned skilled positions they really want to train those people. That training isn’t quick. It doesn’t happen in a month,” Polkey said.

That’s why Amanda Polkey said this job fair is so important.

This gives them the opportunity to meet people of all ages, especially the younger crowd, and explain the benefits of the industry.

“The beautiful thing is you find colleges like this hosting job fairs like this, because it’s a big promotion of that on-the-job apprentice program, you get them in, they’re trainable, moldable, and a lot of companies are taking on that approach,” Polkey said.

For more information, you can call RPCC at (225) 743-8500.

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