Congratulations to T&T’s Soca Warriors for winning the football (soccer) match against USA (first time this has ever been achieved) and hopefully on their way to getting into the second round of the Football World Cup qualifiers. We have eyes on South Africa in 2 years time for the team to repeat their extraordinary performance in Germany in 2006.
What else is there to say except that “we are living in interesting times”.
Jobs in an Uncertain Economy
If you are living in Trinidad, then you know that the question on everybody’s mind is whether or not we will be affected by the global roller coaster economy. Our economy is still strong but there’s a feeling that we must be affected somehow by the crisis in the USA, Europe and elsewhere. We are always affected by the price of oil and, more importantly, gas, and these prices have been dropping and rising in an unpredictable manner globally. Nevertheless, the world needs oil and gas and known reserves are depleting, so oil companies must continue to fund increasingly more expensive exploration and drilling in order to meet future demand.
Historically, Oil & Gas companies tend to lay off staff as soon as their profits dip, and this is one reason why many young people in North America and elsewhere do not choose to work in that industry. This has led to a shortage of skills world-wide, with the prospect that this situation is about to become much worse as a large percentage of skilled and experienced oil and gas professionals are due to retire soon. Therefore, I feel that our international energy sector companies are more likely to relocate skilled staff to other countries, if the local situation should warrant this. This could be a great opportunity for our local talent to gain international experience in this industry.
I.T. skills also appear to be in great demand, both locally and internationally. It seems that the dot.com crash earlier this decade caused many undergraduates in North America to avoid the computer industry as a career. Now there is a shortage of I.T. skills and in fact, according to the (U.S.) National Association of Computer Consultant Businesses, I.T. employment in the USA is on the rise, despite layoffs in other sectors. This makes sense – I.T. is integral in ensuring that a company is operating as efficiently as possible, and that product development can continue to keep the company competitive, when the economy is tight.
I have experienced this myself. Many years ago, I was a programmer at British Airways when the company decided to lay off 20,000 staff world-wide. All staff were invited to apply for voluntary redundancy with generous termination packages. About 80% of the computer staff applied (as we knew we could get jobs elsewhere) before they announced that the computer department was to be the only exception and so our applications were rejected. Unfortunately for the company, many staff had already got job offers and left anyway, me included. But this demonstrates how vital I.T. is to any organisation.
What’s the conclusion in terms of job prospects? I.T. and Energy sector professionals should continue to enjoy a high demand for their skills with consequent salary increases as companies compete for their talent. However, be prepared to seek opportunities abroad to capitalise on this demand.
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