If you ask many Nigerians what they desire to work, as much as 70% will tell you they want oil and gas job. Nigeria being an oil producing nation, oil and gas is arguably the most prestigious sector in the country.
In this article, our editors, some of who have about a decade experience in the oil and gas industry, share some insights on getting oil and gas job. The points are first highlighted thus:-
- Study relevant course in school
- Make good grade from school
- Foreign advanced degrees may help
- Be versatile
- Build a network in the oil and gas industry
- Monitor oil and gas job news and subscribe to job sites
- Try consulting firms as stepping stone
The points are further explained below:-
1, Relevant course
While there is hardly any course that does not have relevance in the oil and gas industry, some courses are actually more relevant than the other. A typical upstream oil and gas company normal has technical, commercial and the support functions. Technical functions require background in Petroleum Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Material Engineering, Geology, Geophysics, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and related fields. Commercial and Business Development guys are usually drawn from fields like Business Administration (MBA), Economics and other Social Sciences, although technical guys are also sometimes used in commercial roles. Support guys are the accountants, HR guys, IT guys, Admin guys and related staff. For Accountants, you must have studied accounting or studied another course but have professional qualifications in accounting. HR and Admin roles hardly have any specific course of study, so this bucket can contain anyone that studied just any course. Computer science graduates or engineering graduates with IT skills or just anyone with good IT skills get posted to IT department. Generally, while just any course may get you oil and gas jobs, engineering, physical sciences, Accounting and Economics tend to boost your chances better.
2, Good grade
While there are indeed many second class lower graduates in the oil and gas industry, high academic flyers like first class and second class upper graduates have more edge, at least at entry level. It is a very competitive industry and most good oil and gas companies demand for first class and 2.1. This still doesn’t guarantee you shortlist, but at least, you know you stand a better chance. Oil and gas industry is not an all-comers industry. The competition can be crazy.
3, Foreign degree
A good number of the technical guys in the oil and gas industry already got their masters before joining, whether in Nigeria or abroad. Some even got PhD, whether while working or before getting the job. A good foreign degree is highly coveted in the industry. A Masters from a top UK or US school can be helpful in getting interview invite. Please note that this is applicable to technical guys, although MBA from a top school can also make a difference in commercial functions.
Versatility can be helpful. If you are an engineer with some IT qualifications or MBA, you have only widened the options of where you can be relevant. You can be relevant on the field as an engineer or at the office in commercial or IT team. It is also good to read wide.
The role of networking just can’t be overemphasized. Build contacts in the oil and gas industry and beyond, right from school and even when working for a non-oil and gas company. Referrals happen everyday in the industry. It is also very important for access to job information. You can also use a website like HotProForum to network. Just register and visit daily to read and meet new people. The more people you know, the better your chance of coming across job leads in the industry.
6, Job portals and news sites
Start following oil and gas news and trends, locally and globally right from when you are in school. This will ensure you are not a complete novice when the opportunity comes. Know the mechanism for oil and gas price fluctuations, various divisions of oil ad gas industry, global oil and gas economy and politics. Subscribe to oil and gas job search sites. Don’t limit your options to Nigeria. Oil and gas is a global industry. Try Qatar, UAE, UK, Ghana etc. People get oil and jobs from those countries from Nigeria. But beware of scammers. You can regularly check the oil and gas section section of HotProForum. Registering on a site like Oil and Gas Job Search may be helpful for information on opportunities. You can also try a site like HotNigerianJobs. JarusHub also has a dedicated section on oil and gas career which can be helpful resource in your job search. Explore all these information sources.
7, Consulting firms as stepping stone
It can be quite difficult to get oil and gas industry job as an entry level person. Only few ones have openings for entry level. So you can try starting from a company that has good reputation and relationship with oil and gas firms to build a network and experience that would be helpful in moving to the oil and gas industry. This is especially applicable to support functions like Finance, HR etc. A good number of the recruits into Finance departments in oil and gas companies came from top professional services firms like PwC, KPMG, Ernst and Young and Deloitte. You may want to start from there and monitor opportunities in the oil and gas industry as they arise. Whether you are in their audit or tax unit, try and get posted to Energy group where you will get to work for oil and gas clients. Some people have also moved from Banks to Treasury departments of oil and gas companies based on relationships they built with the companies while working with the bank.
Finally, it is important to caveat that there is no one way to getting oil and gas job. You may do all of these and still not get. It may sometimes boil down to your smartness or time and chance. But generally, these tips have helped many people.
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