Local oil and gas companies have begun to suffer from a shortage of skilled workers because many local professionals prefer to work overseas, an oil drilling executive says.
"The shortage of professionals in the oil and gas industry is getting worse, as most of the existing companies need more skilled workers to support their expansion projects," said Mohammad Zulkarnain, finance and administration director for state-owned PT Elnusa Drilling Services.
He was speaking in a discussion on human resources in the oil and gas industry held by recruitment agency PT JAC Indonesia on Thursday.
He worried that the shortage of professionals would hinder the government's plan to boost oil production to 1.3 million barrels per day by 2009, from the current level of 1 million barrels.
"In the past, we could easily recruit so many professionals," Zulkarnain said. "Now, things are quite different because local professionals prefer to work overseas, either in the Middle East or Europe, largely because of better pay," he said.
As a result, he added, most local oil and gas companies were in a quandary. "Senior professionals who are paid between US$5,000 and $7,000 monthly are certainly too expensive for them, while hiring fresh graduates is also a problem due to lack of skills even after six months or a year of training," he said.
Zukarnain said companies had also been discouraged from hiring fresh graduates by a law stipulating that dismissed employees get severance and reward pay.
For example, those who have worked for less than a year are entitled to severance pay equaling one month's salary. Those who have worked for three years are entitled to four months of salary and two additional months' worth of reward pay.
Local oil and gas companies also faced difficulties replacing workers who were hired away by other companies, he said.
A participant from a human resources consulting firm said despite searching, the firm could not find "the perfect candidates" to work on the Natuna D-Alpha gas block in the Natuna Sea. (06)