Malaysia: Oil and Gas Industry Facing More Layoffs

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Malaysia’s oil production and reserves have experienced marginal growth in recent years, despite being the second largest producer of oil in South East Asia, and having the fourth largest reserves in Asia. The country’s gas production continues to trend upward, though holding steady in recent years. Malaysia remains one of the world's largest producers of liquefied natural gas (LNG). While Malaysia’s oil reserves are of the highest quality, its crude is one of the most expensive in the world. Like many oil and gas markets, employment trends have been volatile since the drop in gas prices at the end of 2013.

Although oil prices in the Malaysian oil and gas sector resulted in a hiring freeze earlier in 2015, investment in the sector continues to grow to record levels. Continued market slowdown has resulted in increased job cuts. These job cuts will likely continue through the remainder of the year resulting in a more highly skilled labor pool. However, oil and gas job growth is expected to restart over the next five years, as more projects in the area are being approved for the latter half of 2015. This will result in a more competitive labor market and higher hiring rates.

Due to the fact that Malaysia has begun to investigate and pursue more diverse exploration efforts, to preserve lucrative export volumes, it has not seen the same level of downsizing that has been broad spread across North American and the Nordic regions. Struggles to secure talent with sufficient skills have forced a perceived shortage of talent within the industry. A recent study found that 37% of respondents cited inadequate succession planning for knowledge transfer and skills retention as the main cause of the skills shortage. The average Malaysian salary for an oil and gas professional was found to be $60,782.00 US Dollars. Those survey respondents, who identified as talent, cited wages and company reputation as primary decision influencers when considering new positions.

While an aging workforce and lack of gender diversity are well known, and often discussed in the industry, Malaysia is a market where increased participation of the female workforce could have a substantial impact on future talent availability.