I’m back from Japan with my limbs still intact and a skiing ability sufficient to get me down the slope on Gornii Vozdukh yesterday evening. I am currently writing a lengthy post on Japan, and hopefully I’ll get it posted over the weekend.
Anyway, I arrived back in Sakhalin to the news that I will be getting booted from my job on 30th April, with the rest of my department following in May and June. The reasons for this are quite simple, and I will explain in more detail at a later date. Like 1st of May.
Which means I am now seriously on the hunt for another job and as such trawling through various recruitment websites looking for suitable positions. I have commented before about some of the rather fanciful adverts put out by companies looking to recruit in the oil and gas business, and pointed out that the problem of not enough “young” (meaning, younger than 55) people in the industry is a problem purely of the industry’s own making. I have to say that things have improved slightly in the 2-3 years since I wrote my original post (although I might just be seeing the benefit of my own additional 2-3 years experience here), and I was relieved to hear that one company I am applying for a job with specifically asked for somebody under 35 years of age who would be open to development and be able to adapt into an new working culture. Yet still we see hopelessly unrealistic requirements being fitted to a job description which a company would struggle to fill at the best of times.
So given that I am going to be churning through a huge number of oil and gas job ads over the next few weeks or months, I thought I’d start a small series of unrealistic job adverts which I come across. I shall not be linking to the adverts as this might jeopardise my own job hunting efforts and consign me to a lifetime of snow-clearing on Sakhalin, so you’ll just have to trust me on this. But here is the first:
Our client is aiming to be the largest oil & gas EPC in the world and is experiencing continued growth in it’s sector. From a successful contract win they now require a number of experienced engineers to work on a project in Kazakhstan.
Specifically they require a degree qualified Field Engineering Coordinator who has 16 years experience with a major EPC and a design background. You MUST speak Russian and be able to mobilise immediately.
Hmm. Anybody with 16 years experience in a major EPC (engineering company) will be at least 37 years old, more likely in his mid-40s. If he is to have learned Russian to the point where he can coordinate engineering activities, he will have had to have done it in parallel with his day job or have been lucky enough to be born to a Russian parent. Had he studied it academically he would be unlikely to have 16 years experience in engineering design in a major EPC, so anyone in this position speaking Russian will have to be seriously motivated and/or smart. The number of foreigners I have met on Sakhalin who can speak Russian to a high level who did not study it in university or grew up speaking it can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Even the number of us who can get by socially and practically but fall over in a technical or business situation is very low, and were it not for my hammering out the lessons in Dubai and roaming about Russia before I came I’d be no better than anybody else. As it happens, I speak Russian better than almost every foreigner I come across here (I will hastily add that the few who do speak Russian well speak it much, much better than me). In short, the number of foreigners who have advanced engineering skills and are also proficient in Russian are very few in number to the point they are almost non-existent (for the record, I fall into neither category).
But let’s assume this chap exists. Where do you think he will be? Employed as a senior manager by an established multinational in a plush office in Moscow living in an impressive apartment on a humungous salary? Or sat at home unemployed prepared to go to Atyrau – think Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in a barren desert devoid of mountains or nature – on a moment’s notice to work as a field engineering coordinator!! Mid-40s, 16 years in a major EPC, design experience, fluent in Russian, and working as a field engineering coordinator?!! What skills does the project manager possess? Alchemy?
I have no idea who the company is, but if they are “aiming to be the largest oil & gas EPC in the world” they’d better get somebody in who has a realistic idea of how to recruit people.