Conference attendance sign of oil, gas trade boom

May 4, 2011 4:39:08 PM PDT
There are new signs that the economy is turning around, especially in Houston. Oil and gas companies are posting more jobs to get people back to work. But the way to apply is changing.

The Offshore Technology Conference is the biggest of its kind in the world. Attendance this year is up 10 percent. It's a sign the oil and gas trade is booming again, meaning there are a lot of job opportunities and the way to find them is a business into itself.

In a northwest Harris County suite, a company called is playing a huge role in the future of oil and gas.

"Rigzone is like Yahoo! for the oil and gas industry," said David Kent of

From one employee to 40 in the last decade, it is part online news service and bookstore, but most importantly, it's a job board, posting thousands of oil and gas specific jobs. More and more of them are going up every day.

"They're really good. It slowed down with the recession, but since last year, we've seen a 75-percent growth in the number of jobs posted to our website," Kent said.

"We've seen increases in our new monthly records for unique visits and visits in general," said Joseph Jones with

Competitor says it's seen similar growth in the last decade. We found both companies with booths at this week's Offshore Technology Conference at Reliant Center. had one million visits to its site just last month.

"It brings the employer together with the candidate and helps people move on and progress in their roles," said Mark Guest with

And as you look around OTC, it is packed, busier than any time since 1982. There are lots of companies, lots of jobs and most all of them posted on line.

"We've really seen things pick up in the international oil and gas market," Australian oil and gas recruiter Joe Allen said.

Allen says the old way could take companies more than three months to fill a job. Now it's two weeks.

"We've found that online job boards and online interactive sites and professional networking sites and social networking sites are really taking the lead now ," Allen said.

Good for oil and gas, good for online job sites and good for Houston.

"The skill set here in Houston is second to none," Kent said.

Not only is the number of jobs bigger than last year's, but the number of people looking for jobs has gone way up, too, with the most opportunities here in Houston, in the Middle East, and of all places, in Australia.

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