Petrochemicals will need in excess of 150 thousand skilled workers by next April
Demand for skilled labor in the U.S. chemicals industry is expected to peak in April 2016, according to Daniel Groves, workforce director at the construction Users Roundtable (CURT) and chief executive of data provider Construction Industry Resources. Groves expects that around 156,000 skilled workers will be needed in the U.S. petrochemical industry by the time hiring peaks in 2016.
The Southeast U.S.A. is expected to draw the lion’s share of the hiring, accounting for about 132,000 of the sector’s workers. There are six new ethylene crackers currently under construction in North America, most of which are in the Gulf Coast, according to research by Petrochemical Update.
In the meantime, at least eight companies have announced plant expansions, many of which are already underway. A number of other petrochemical projects have been announced, though not yet approved.
The current pipeline of greenfield and brownfield construction projects is valued at around $24 billion, according to Petrochemical Update.
Rapidly increasing recruitment
The growth in the petrochemical industry is also spurring more recruitment for skilled workers in the industry. Petrochemical owners such as South Africa’s Sasol (ticker: SSL) plan to ramp up their average annual recruitment from less than a dozen to thousands over the next few years.
Sasol, which is building an $8.1 billion cracker and derivatives complex near Lake Charles, Louisiana, expects to hire almost 5,000 construction workers over the next three years and some 500 full-time employees when the facility comes on stream in 2018, according to Jeffrey Gill, senior HR leader, Learning and Talent Management at the company.
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