Freelancers' prospects for changing their working sector largely depend on their discipline, experience and skills, according to an article on the Contract Calculator website. Nevertheless, that might not be enough when transitioning to more specific industries, such as oil and gas.
Many roles in the oil and gas industry are becoming increasingly specialist.
Contractors with experience in support roles in finance, IT and human resources can often make a seamless sector transition. However, many roles in the oil and gas industry are becoming increasingly specialist and specific knowledge related to the industry is crucial, said Hays Oil & Gas director Ed Allnutt.
This means that it's hard to transition to an engineering or geosciences position from outside the oil and gas sector without first undergoing specific training. Moreover, there are few companies ready to invest the time and effort needed in order to re-skill freelancers from another sector, the director said.
Things are different when it comes to support roles, where it's less important who contractors have worked and in which sector. The skills required for support positions, like human resources or finance, usually relate more to the disciplines themselves, rather than the industries they operate in, Allnutt pointed out.
For example, IT contractors transitioning to the oil industry will face familiar tasks and operations alongside certain regulations that are particular to the sector. While it's important to know this information, it is not the core element of the skills and experience required for the role.
Allnutt also said that it's important to bear in mind that senior roles require much more industry-specific knowledge, compared to support ones.