September 2016 Newsletter

Half your expectations

As the fourth quarter of 2016 is coming up soon we can see the trends that are driving employment for engineers. The oil and gas market remains very slow and layoffs continue. The profit margins in the refining sector have contracted greatly and that sector is slowing down considerably. Petrochemicals continue to be the driver of the market. The success of petrochemicals is now feeding into downstream expansions. Companies that have built new ethylene capacity are now focusing on expansions to consume their own additional ethylene capacity. The idea is to consume internally rather than selling ethylene in a market of rising capacity.

Some of our clients seem to be ahead of the curve and have already announced large “olefins consuming” expansion plans here in Texas. On an even big picture level, many of my industry contacts and fellow recruiters have commented that this market is not as strong in hiring as it should be. I have noticed that as well. Obviously, the oil and gas/midstream sector has taken much of the demand out of the job market.

However, something that the Dow Chemical leadership team has noticed caught my attention. I feel this may be the best explanation of why business has the “fighting a headwind” feeling. Dow leadership, as reported in Chemical Week magazine, pegged worldwide market growth at 4% as an underlying business assumption. After a review of the real performance of the market in the “slow growth” era since the 2008 recession, Dow has had to recalibrate their assumption of growth down to 2%.

The figure seems to make sense of the data and to reflect the new reality of the market. There is growth and some opportunity but maybe only half as much as we were used to! Of course, there are always pockets of opportunity in any market and we are always on the lookout to identify those pockets.

Please let us know of any changes in your status regarding your career stability or interest in hearing about specific job opportunities. We will seek to keep you informed of the trends we see in the market and we are looking forward to a strong fourth quarter as we have several long term clients that are well positioned to take advantage of the trends.

God bless and keep in touch.

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