We may not have yet reached Peak Oil, but we may have reached Peak Oil Workers:
In the next three or four years, there’s expected to be a 30 to 40 percent shortage of technical and professional oil workers in the Untied States, according to Damon Beyer of Katzenbach Partners, a Houston-based management consultancy that specializes in the energy sector.
Over a quarter of the industry’s highly skilled employees – petroleum engineers, process engineers, geologists, geophysicists and the like – are eligible for retirement in two years, said Beyer.
Well, I won’t be eligible for retirement in 2 years, and I can see my job getting much more difficult. I already see this manpower shortage firsthand, because one of the things I have to do is secure manpower for my team. That consumes a disproportionate amount of my time, because there aren’t that many good people just floating about.
“It’s a real issue,” said Beyer. “Success in attracting new people into the work force is limited.”
Worldwide, the industry’s “people deficit” is expected to reach up to 15 percent by 2010, according to Pritesh Patel, an associate director at Cambridge Energy Research Associates.
Well, I know one way to address that supply deficit. If the pay for engineers, geologists, and geophysicists was in the ballpark of what energy analysts and hedge fund managers are paid (seven figures is not that unusual, which has certainly tempted me on occasion), I think the supply imbalance will start to swing the other direction.