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Oil and gas is a strong performing sector with the most competitive salaries to retain talent in the UAE and the region at large.

However, with global oil prices remaining in check for the better part of the year, companies in this sector are likely to continue with their scaling back in hiring due to the market uncertainty.

According to the latest global hiring survey conducted by Rigzone, an online resource for the oil and gas industry, current market conditions in the oil and gas sector are not conducive to hiring or pay hikes.

Globally, this has led to oil and gas professionals maintaining caution in the negotiating process.

The survey reckons not only will there be fewer jobs available in the market, but it’ll be difficult to get increments as well, making 2015 not all that bright for those working in this industry.

The figures reveal that more than 55 per cent of global hiring managers reported that they have not seen an increase in the number of candidates asking for more money in the last three months.

This is primarily because of the lower revenues that companies are raking in now and fewer job offers available outside the workplace for any employee.

The Hays oil & gas global job index for the first quarter traditionally sees a bounce back as hiring restarts after the holiday season slowdown in the previous quarter. However, due to the downturn in the oil and gas market, Q1 2015 bucks the trend.

The Index, which charts the number of jobs posted on key oil and gas job portals across the world, dropped from 1.16 to 0.95 in Q1 2015, a fall of 28 per cent from December 2014 and a 42 per cent fall year-on-year.

Rigzone data shows that while the global candidate pool is getting larger, companies remain cautious, with many companies continuing to scale back on hiring plans due to ongoing market volatility and low oil prices.

Given the continued volatility of the market, the majority of oil and gas companies globally have changed their hiring plans in the short and, in some cases, medium term.

More than half of global hiring managers surveyed (53 per cent) said they had decreased their hiring plans for the next six months as a result of the market environment.

Having said that, there are still companies in the market, looking for talent. The survey says that 76 per cent of the hiring managers believe now is the opportune time to look, expecting to see an increase in the number of candidates applying for positions now as compared to three months ago.

The Hays analysis also shows there are still pockets of reasonably strong activity with Asia and the Middle East both showing an increase in hiring activity compared to the previous quarter, albeit below Q1 2014.

Within the region, businesses such as Saudi Aramco are hiring western expats with specific unconventional experience and for infrastructure projects, as per Hays.

“The job market is expected to remain relatively strong throughout Q2 and Q3, but it is still too early to tell if the Index will return to 2014 levels,” reads the Hays index.