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The Scottish firm helping establish Malasyia's big data hub as global demand for data specialists grows

11th May 2018

A report released by OPITO on 10 May 2018 indicates that a quarter of all jobs in the oil and gas sector over the next 20 years will be for roles that do not exist today.

Nadim Shema, Director

The UKCS Workforce Dynamics Review, published by OPITO in partnership with Robert Gordon University predicts 40,000 new jobs in the UK oil and gas industry by 2038, with 10,000 of these in entirely new digital roles not currently in existence – data science, robotics, data analytics, robotics, and AI.

For the global industry, this shift to digital jobs will be even more pronounced.

Glasgow-based recruitment consultancy Ably Resources is working with major oil and gas clients in Malaysia, the Middle East and West Africa, including Petronas and CADS (Center Of Applied Data Science) to recruit the professionals who will take on these roles and facilitate the transition to digital.

Nadim Shema, director of Ably Resources, said:

“The Digital Oilfield is the future of exploration within the sector. A growing trend has seen more and more geophysicists and engineers re-train and re-skill themselves as data scientists due to the lack of traditional O&G opportunities since 2014. These mathematically skilled professionals are now in high demand within the O&G industry as well as many other sectors, such as investment banking, pharmaceuticals and financial services. Retaining and attracting data science talent will be the biggest challenge facing the industry, as demand for skilled and experienced individuals reaches fever pitch.

 “Companies within the sector need to be aware of the demand within the market and act quickly in obtaining talented candidates. Another growing trend has seen many Statistics and Computer Science PhD students offered six figure salaries by the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon before they have even completed their studies. This ensures that these companies have the upper hand when it comes to capabilities and the development of disruptive technology. The major players within the O&G industry need to take note of the tactics and speed at which the likes of Google and Amazon hoover up AI and Robotics talent.

“A promising sign for O&G companies in the Malaysian market has been the policies recently put into place by the Malaysian government to attract and develop data science talent. The Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) is overseeing the establishment of Malaysia as an Asian hub for BDA (Big Data and Analytics). There are approximately 7,000 data professionals in Malaysia currently, with the aim of having 20,000 high-quality data professionals skilled and in employment by 2020.

“Specialist Malaysian data science consultancies are focusing on training and developing the local talent pool to meet the target set by the government for 2020. The current demand in Malaysia has seen many companies also turn to expat talent to help develop and transform Data Science capabilities within the country by working on scaling up successful projects, mentoring and coaching aspiring data professionals. However, attracting expat talent to relocate to Malaysia is a challenge that is faced by many companies located in the area as salaries continue to rise dramatically across the globe.”

Ably Resources is set to achieve turnover of £3.5m for 2017, with projected revenues of £8million for 2018. In 2015, Ably made a loss of £1million.

Managing director Mark Lombardi and his two co-directors, Ami Wright and Nadim Shema, bought the company in 2016 when the price of a barrel of oil was just $28 and turnover for the firm had fallen by 68%.

The three directors developed a survival strategy to combat challenging industry conditions, primarily by maintaining close relationships with key customers and offering ‘added value’ services. This has led to an extraordinary turnaround in the past 24 months with contracts across the globe in oil and gas, marine and construction sectors.

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