Attention Texas recruiters and employers: Your accounting, professional, and technical staff may soon be lured seductively to Southeast Texas. The Texas staffing energy boom is hitting a high point, requiring more than construction workers and petrochemical engineers. In this article, we take a look at how staffing Beaumont, TX, and surrounding areas could bring a much needed boost the Southeast Texas economy, while complicating recruiting efforts for the rest of Texas.
Source of the Beaumont Boom
Oil and gas have always been a major source of jobs in Beaumont, TX, and surrounding areas. So it should come as no surprise that oil and gas are at the center of Southeast Texas’ next big economic boom. The U.S. is leading the world in oil production growth, while new advances in energy production like liquefied natural gas are poised to boost the Southeast Texas economy to epic heights.
“The race to liquefy natural gas and export worldwide it is impacting everything in our region,” says Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce President Jim Rich. He references specific projects as proof, like that of South African energy giant Sasol, Ltd., investing up to $21 billion in an ethane cracker and gas-to-liquids complex in Lake Charles, LA (not far from Beaumont). The project is expected to create 1,250 new jobs. And in Jefferson County alone, billions are expected to pour into projects including a Qatar Petroleum International and ExxonMobil affiliate plan to expand their Golden Pass project, involving natural gas liquefaction and exportation. The expansion is expected to translate into a $10 billion investment on the U.S. Gulf Coast and produce about 9,000 construction jobs over five years.
“In all, the Baytown to Lake Charles corridor alone has been promised $50 billion in private investments,” explains Rich. And that’s just the tip of the oil derrick. Jefferson County refineries are increasing rail transportation, the Keystone Pipeline is being built to Oklahoma right now, production of methanol and ammonia is picking up, and waterways from Beaumont to the Texas Gulf are being improved and deepened.
Why Texas Recruiters Should Take Note
While it’s true these projects require more construction workers than are available, they will also bring with them job growth in every single area of business—accounting and finance, marketing and sales, technical, and even retail. This means attracting great talent away from the major cities like Houston, and perhaps further away from Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas. So wherever you are in Texas, your recruiting efforts could be affected. Additionally of note, is the level of talent needed at these job sites.
“The security clearance needed to even change a light bulb in many of these locations is extremely high,” explains Rich. “Those who can’t pass a drug test or criminal background check are out of the running. This region is home to the most security-related jobs on earth.”
The final factor to consider is a separate issue altogether. Current oil and gas jobs are also poised for turnover. According to Rich, the average worker in the petrochemical industry is 55 years-old and ready to retire, posing another Texas staffing opportunity. Daniel Lumma, senior vice president of Kiewit Oil, Gas and Chemical North America in Houston, corroborates this prediction. According to Lumma, about half of the oil industry’s skilled trade workers will retire within the next 10 years.
How will this activity affect the region and other employers throughout Texas? Time will tell. To add a bit of perspective:
“More jobs in Southeast Texas are good for everyone,” says HT Staffing Co-founder and Chairman Jim Gilliam. “With the recent boom, we have seen demand for engineering talent outstripping the local supply. It will be interesting to see if Southeast Texas companies and recruiters are able to attract talent away from other big oil centers like Houston and those along the Gulf coast.”
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