OFFSHORE MUST BE MORE SEXY
It is of decisive importance for Ramboll Oil & Gas to attract highly qualified employees. For that reason the offshore industry must be seen as an opportunity for an interesting career. Thanks to cooperation with other positive forces this process is heading in the right direction.
Hunting down engineers for offshore projects has been a tough job, and for long periods it has been hard to get the necessary number of candidates for the booming industry. The problem has not only been caused by the number of graduates but also the fact that the Danish offshore industry has adhered to the proverb of “he, who leads a quiet life, leads a good life”.
“We have to admit, that we have not been good enough telling how interesting this industry is. We have simply been asleep instead of promoting the opportunities. Now we have got a wake-up call, so now we are all fully alert,” explains Managing Director of Ramboll Oil & Gas, John Sørensen, who believes that now the Danish offshore branch will do more to promote itself in a much better manner.
“This is the story of a branch which has been rather anonymous, but where the agenda has now changed. That goes for all the companies involved – even the largest ones. Much focus has been directed on the town of Esbjerg and its oil & gas industry, and it has turned a bit more sexy to work in the offshore industry, but the volume should be turned up quite a good deal higher as there is a long way ahead before we see better times,” states John Sørensen pointing at the difference between Denmark and our brother-country, Norway.
“Any Norwegian is fully aware that his country is making its living from oil, and they are proud of that fact. In Denmark we have been creeping along under the carpet being afraid not to talk too loud about our activities, but this vain modesty must be changed. Of course we fully acknowledge our government’s wish to develop a broad mix of energy including wind power and types of other alternative energy, but oil and gas will play a major part many years ahead, so we should be proud that we are able to provide that contribution to our national palette of energy,” insists John Sørensen pointing out that the branding of Esbjerg as the “Ener
gyMetropolis” is pushing things into the right direction, even if there is still quite some way till the oil and gas industry is where it should be.
A GOOD MIX
The result is that Ramboll Oil & Gas still has to find part of its employees abroad, but that is in no way considered a disadvantage by John Sørensen.
“It is still a challenge to recruit personnel from Copenhagen, while it has been easier to get staff from other parts of Denmark. Even if most of our employees are Danes it is also necessary to take a look at the big world around us as that provides for more diversity in our organisation. We believe in getting a considerable number of international jobs in the years to come, so we
OIL AND GAS WILL PLAY A MAJOR PART MANY YEARS AHEAD, SO WE SHOULD BE PROUD THAT WE ARE ABLE TO PROVIDE THAT CONTRIBUTION TO OUR NATIONAL PALETTE OF ENERGY
It is John Sørensen’s hope that the offshore industry will grow a more attractive profile. It is John Sørensen’s hope that the offshore industry will grow a more attractive profile. are fully aware of the benefit of having many different nationalities attached to major projects,” explains John Sørensen who is going for a broad range of employees mastering many different disciplines.
“At any time we must have a proper mixture of employees. Staff members who have been with us for many years and young, new employees. That will secure our own future and provide an economic balance in order for the jobs not always to end up being handled by an engineer of 35 years seniority.” John Sørensen has noted that 2014 has seen the need for hunting only few new faces. Ramboll Oil & Gas like most other companies has speeded down a bit, but according to him the engineering giant definitely has an advantage when looking for new staff members.
“During 2014 we have hired less people than before, and I feel that there is not the usual competition among companies for finding qualified applicants. We have always been able to attract the best possible staff, as we are probably privileged by our good brand. Of course, the applicants do not always possess the qualifications we are looking for, so if necessary we spend some time teaching them the special lingo of the offshore industry, but it is always positive to add new people with new ideas to our organization.”
WHEN THE NEXT WAVE STARTS ROLLING IN
Based on a long life at Ramboll Oil & Gas, John Sørensen is confident regarding recruitment for better days, as he knows from experience that offshore always goes up again after it has been down.
“I have been in the business for almost 30 years, so I have seen the fluctuations. At the moment offshore is a bit hove-to as the price of oil is dropping, so obviously some projects need to be re-considered. Shortly, things will turn more hectic as all predictions tell us that the demand will soon start growing again. There will be new challenges, too, when more wind energy projects are launched, and it will be of interest to take a closer look
at marginal fields, so there will be a growing need to cooperate with various partners,” states John Sørensen who himself is working under somewhat other conditions.
“We are still busy, but our horizon has moved a bit closer. Of course we worry when the amount of jobs dwindle, and we have seen our book of contracts getting lean and hungry, as recently there has been less to do, but we are still employing new staff as we have trust in the future. It is a question of staying cool as otherwise we would not be able to sleep at night.”
“Obviously there are periods when we sleep better than others, and to be honest we only feel at ease 4-5 minutes at a time. There is always too little or too much work, but that is characteristic for our trade. We shall remember to be happy when we bag a project as that is the best bait for attracting qualified employees. For an engineer technical and professional challenges are like sugar to a starving fly, and challenges are something we can always offer our staff. That is why we shall remember to tell the world what we are good at.”