Life in ‘the new normal’ oil and gas industry

Published: 08 Oct 2017

An Aberdeen-based business has called on those working in the oil and gas industry to seize the opportunities created by ‘the new normal’ environment facing the North Sea, having successfully navigated its own maiden year of trading and the challenges associated with that.

FG Associates, which specialises in finding high-performing talent for key appointments, was launched in June 2016 to shake up the executive search sector. In that time, the company has found success by diversifying across multiple industries and geographies; leading to continued growth both in the north-east and further afield.

With more than 75 years’ combined experience in the recruitment sector, the company’s founders – Martyn Garvie, Craig Finnie, Phil Smith, and Andrew Burton – have worked with clients operating in the energy, construction, finance, fintech and healthcare sectors in recent months.

The business has also supported clients in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, as well as closer to home in Tayside, Edinburgh, London, and a construction firm employing around 2,000 people in Yorkshire.

Phil Smith, director at FG Associates, said: “Having spent more years in the recruitment industry than I would want to admit, my belief that our business model, replacing an outdated mode of recruitment, was being introduced at the right time and has been borne out by the way clients, old and new, have embraced our offering.

“Through our shared risk business model, we set out with the aim to create a clear differentiator that would not only be relevant to operators and service companies that were adjusting to the need to find efficiencies, but also help them achieve tangible results.”

Fellow director Craig Finnie commented: “Over the past year we have heard many of the same excuses repeated as reasons for delaying activity, such as the low oil price. Regrettably, consensus is that the picture remains stagnant with people and organisations putting their lives on hold; waiting on some sign of change.

Craig Finnie

“Yes, businesses have cut deep – but now is the time to seize the initiative. Our view of the market is that there’s a growing recognition that we need to focus on what we can directly influence, rather than worrying about those other factors that we can’t control.

“Despite a sometimes testing 12 months in business for FG Associates, we consider ourselves fortunate to be in the position we are today; with clients operating across a broad range of sectors, it gives us cause to be genuinely optimistic about the future.”

Since its launch a year ago, FG Associates has laid the groundwork for future success and the company is aiming to double turnover in 2018.

One client, a leading oilfield service company operating in more than 90 countries, appointed a new chief financial officer via FG Associates’ executive search service, which led to cost savings of around $100million within its latest financial year.

Another energy industry firm engaged with FG Associates to recruit a new business development manager, who has since been responsible for transforming the business’ sales function and, in turn, increasing turnover year-on-year by 120%.

Phil Smith added: “I think it’s clear that life in the new normal requires a different approach to recruitment: where consultants listen to what businesses need now, rather than what has been done in the past.

“In some respects, the current economic situation has been a help, not a hindrance; we couldn’t have successfully launched our business model in a market where oil was still $100 a barrel, and there was no incentive for people to change.

“We are now seeing clients making recruitment decisions based on adding real value to their business, which wasn’t always the case in the past. As a result, we are seeing confidence returning to the market which should hopefully lead to greater activity in 2018.”

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