As Oil Prices Drop, Pressure to Find Energy Leaders Rises

October 28, 2015 – Heidrick & Struggles has strengthened its oil, gas and power expertise in the firm’s global industrial practice with the addition of David Pruner. He will be based at the firm’s Houston office.

Mr. Pruner joins Heidrick & Struggles from Wood Mackenzie, a global research and strategic advisory firm specializing in the energy, chemicals, metals and mining industries, where he has been a senior vice president for the past 12 years. Previously, he served as president of J.M. Huber Resource Services, a natural resources and specialty chemicals firm.

“David will bring a strategic focus and extensive industry experience to our clients in the oil, gas and power sectors to address their executive talent and leadership needs,” said Les Csorba, partner in charge of the firm’s Houston office. “In the uncertain and volatile operating environments that have resulted in the dramatic drop in global energy prices, there’s a greater need than ever for visionary and agile leaders.”

A report issued by ManpowerGroup, ‘Strategies to Fuel the Energy Workforce,’ found that 58 percent of energy executives said they struggle to find the talent they need and 74 percent believe the problem will worsen over the next five years. Job categories identified as being in greatest demand included field workers, skilled trades, and highly educated professionals.

The study also found that the talent shortage may already be slowing growth and expansion. By some estimates, there will be three million energy sector jobs by 2020. In the utilities subsector, where half of the workforce is already over the age of 40 — 100,000 net new jobs are projected. Many of the positions will require tech-savvy candidates to keep pace with future developments.

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In response, a number of headhunting firms have been growing within the energy sector to fill critical roles for clients. In recent weeks, Extract Talent opened its doors to serve clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to startups. The firm concentrates in the downstream sector of the oil, gas, chemicals, and catalysts industries.

In July, Diversified Search appointed Guy Sava as a managing partner and natural resources practice leader. Mr. Sava, who also was with Heidrick & Struggles, has worked with global manufacturing, chemical, materials, energy and other industrial sector clients.

Korn Ferry also bulked up its staff in the sector, naming former Heidrick & Struggles recruiter Chad Hesters as managing director of the firm’s Houston office and a senior client partner in its energy search practice.

Jim Aslaksen recently joined ZRG Partners as managing director to further build out that firm’s global industrial practice. He has over 20 years of experience in leading assignments for CEOs, board directors and other senior level executives for global industrial organizations, frequently working within the chemical and process industries markets.

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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