The release of a new Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) annual workforce survey shows that development of shale has – to the surprise of few – been a boon to the state. Pennsylvania’s unemployment is the lowest that it has been since 2008, and hiring in 2014 could send it even lower. Member companies expect to add to the ranks of shale workers by hiring more than 2,000 new employees in 2014, John M. Augustine III, the community outreach manager, told Rigzone.
Most of the hiring is expected to be within engineering and construction, midstream and pipeline, and operations and maintenance. These new jobs are considered long-term jobs, Augustine said, and a number of them will be in the midstream sector.
As for the breakdown in jobs, more than 25 percent are in engineering and construction, according to the press release. Nearly as many – 23 percent – are in equipment operations, while just over 15 percent are in operations and maintenance. Administration accounts for 8 percent of new hiring, while 7 percent work in land, and 5 percent work in a category covering environmental, health and safety.
While the new jobs were welcomed, the survey makes clear that there are challenges to filling positions:
- Finding qualified talent with knowledge and experience
- Competition for qualified talent
- Finding workers with the willingness to relocate to fill open positions in the Marcellus Shale
The greatest recruiting challenge by far is finding a skilled workforce. Engineering and pipeline engineering are the categories that have the greatest need beyond the talent currently available, with geology, safety and environmental/regulatory workers also in need.
Most workers recently hired – 83 percent – came from Pennsylvania or other states that contain part of the Marcellus Shale, including Ohio, W. Virginia, New York and Maryland, Augustine said.
“One of the biggest misconceptions is regarding where the jobs are being filled. Currently, more than 60 percent of the jobs are being filled in Pennsylvania, and most of the rest are in adjacent states,” he said.
The survey showed that just over one-fifth of the jobs are being filled by women. Company websites were the most frequently used method of recruiting, followed by career websites, referrals and social media.