New gas plays and a resurgence of activity in some areas have helped boost the number of available jobs in the oil and gas sector; however, concern about needed skills and a shortage of certain disciplines remain worldwide, according to the results of a survey released recently.

The Global Oil & Gas Workforce Survey, conducted by Oilcareers.com and Air Energi , showed the majority of those surveyed said the demand within their organizations was the highest for engineers. That occupation was followed by a need for project managers and drilling specialists. Worldwide, disciplines with shortages varied, depending on the type of development under way in each region.

“While shale gas is developing rapidly in the United States, it is also gaining significant momentum in Argentina,” Mark Guest , managing director of OilCareers.com, said in a prepared statement. “This combined with Brazil’s expected jump in offshore activity will help usher in an increase of jobs in those areas.”

The skills shortage coupled with strong oil prices is steering employee packages upward, Guest wrote in the study However, challenges remain with employers’ training programs. The survey revealed that 28.6% can’t offer the full section of training; 28.4% lack funding; 24.8% lack skilled trainers; and 18.2% can’t get quality candidates for their training programs.

Some operators are not sitting back hoping the labor problem will fix itself, Ian Langley , group executive chairman for Air Energi, pointed out in the study. “Savvy operators are choosing not to let the tail wag the dog, taking a global approach to their hiring practices, and where possible, proactively recruiting or reassigning talent as it becomes available,” he wrote. “We have also heard from several clients that the need to protect and enhance the young stream of professionals entering the industry has taken a much higher priority.”

Those methods include providing internships and other ways to help better facilitate the transition into oil and gas careers.

The global survey, which invited more than 170,000 oil and gas professionals to participate from more than 50 countries, included a snapshot of the workforce scene by region.

Africa: A surge in offshore activity on the continent’s west side is spurring the need for subsea specialist engineers, which are already in high demand worldwide. So companies have turned to on-the-job training to fulfill needs. Their response comes as some foreign personnel leave for other areas – such as the Asia-Pacific region