- Schlumberger rescinded job and internship offers to scores of college students amid the oil price downturn.
- Many job applicants who lost offers are international students. They now have a limited amount of time to find a new job.
- Top talent is applying for work in other industries that have been less impacted by oil markets.
- Schlumberger did not respond to a request for comment. In a letter sent to prospective employees, the company cited the pandemic and the oil price downturn.
- For more stories like this, sign up here for our weekly energy newsletter, Power Line.
Schlumberger, the world’s largest oilfield services company, has rescinded job offers for some fresh college grads, including international students who are now racing to find new positions that will allow them to stay in the country.
Four job applicants, who were offered roles in North America then had their offers revoked, spoke with Business Insider on the condition of anonymity. One of them shared the letter he received.
About a dozen students posted publicly on LinkedIn that their job or internship offers were pulled. One post included a letter from Schlumberger about the canceled internship.
It’s not clear how many people in all were affected at Schlumberger, which employs about 100,000 people and has cut pay and furloughed workers due to the oil downturn. Schlumberger did not respond to a request for comment.
“Schlumberger’s activity and outlook has been negatively impacted by two unforeseen events: decline in oil price and the impact of COVID-19,” the company wrote in a letter to a student who had his offer revoked. “Unfortunately, we have taken the difficult decision to rescind your job offer.”
The decision is just one example of how oil-and-gas firms have responded to the oil market meltdown, which saw crude prices fall by 70% earlier this year.
Most major oil companies have since slashed their annual budgets, and many have frozen recruitment or laid off workers, signaling that the sector may be losing top-tier talent. Oil-and-gas jobs are among the highest-paying positions in the country, but prospective employees and workers in the industry say they’re now worried about job security.
Schlumberger, headquartered in Houston, has also taken other actions to cut costs, including laying off about 2,000 people, per the Houston Chronicle. In April, the firm implemented two furlough programs for its North American staff and cut pay for some workers, according to letters obtained by Business Insider.
Click here to subscribe to Power Line, Business Insider’s weekly energy newsletter.
Upsetting employees, the letters to some hourly staff informing them of a wage reduction appeared to use a template for a promotion, two employees said, as Business Insider previously reported.
“I wish you the best of success in your new job,” the letter said just above the signature.
Schlumberger is currently carrying out a restructuring, the Houston Chronicle reported earlier this week. It’s expected to cost more than $1 billion and save the company about $1.5 billion a year.
Top talent looks to other industries
One software engineer Business Insider spoke to was thrilled to receive an offer late last year to join Schlumberger, after traveling to the company’s Houston campus for an interview.
But as he saw the company’s stock plummet in February and March, he started getting nervous. Scrolling through rumor apps like Blind, where employees chat anonymously, didn’t help.
“I started to worry about my job offer one week before I officially got offer revoked,” he said. “That week was really a nightmare.”
When the engineer’s offer was pulled at the end of March, he was initially panicked, but now he views it as a blessing in disguise. He’ll soon start a new role at one of the country’s top tech companies, where software engineers earn considerably more. (BI is not naming the company to protect his identity.)
Another prospective employee, a mechanical engineer, received an offer to join Schlumberger at the beginning of November.
She had six other offers lined up, one of which was from Shell, but she decided to join Schlumberger. She wanted to live in Houston, she knew there was the flexibility to move around the company, and it was the world’s leading oilfield services firm.
Then at the end of March, Schlumberger pulled her offer, as well, she said.
Luckily, she was able to find another role quickly — at a Fortune 500 company focused on semiconductors.
“Maybe oil-and-gas wasn’t meant for what I was supposed to do,” she said. “Electronics are the way of the future, and I think a semiconductor equipment company is a great place to be right now.”
Other prospective employees said they’re hesitant to look for other work in the oil industry, and they’re expanding their search to fields like tech, mining, and manufacturing.
Read more: Petroleum engineers can earn six figures straight out of college — more than any other major. We asked 4 professors whether the degree will still pay off now that oil markets have collapsed.
International students race to find new jobs
For students from outside the US, losing a job offer can be more consequential. Candidates with an F-1, or student, visa have a limited number of months to find a position within their field of study if they wish to remain in the US.
“This is bad for students like me who are international because we only get some time to find a job,” one of the students said. “I was informed of this 30 days before my graduation, and I had an offer last year.” The student is currently interviewing for other roles.