The oil and gas industry must collaborate more to boost recruitment and employee retention in order to solve the current critical skills shortage, according to a new report published March 26 by OilCareers.com and U.K.-based Air Energi Group Ltd .

The Global Oil & Gas Workforce Survey 2014 documented the views of more than 500 professionals from across the supply chain, spanned every major region on the industry's most pressing recruitment questions and underscored the need for oil and gas companies to work together to share information, including data about which roles are most critical to operations and which skills are the most sought-after.

More than half of the survey participants identified engineers as the most in-demand job role in the industry , followed by project managers, drilling, contract administrators and geologists. And 80% of survey participants faced difficulties filling roles due to the skills shortage in the last year.

"Companies don't have a good track record of collaborating with each other when it comes to addressing the root cause of the skills shortage," Mark Guest , managing director for OilCareers.com, said. "If we are going to see a real and positive change in the skills gap the industry as a whole must work together on the development of education, training and local content initiatives."

A rise in both rates and salaries has made employee retention challenging. For example, in the Middle East, increased competition and the tight margins for work have presented an issue for companies, both in terms of attracting new talent and retaining existing talent. Although it is difficult to place a figure on the impact that attrition has on any individual project, this is perhaps becoming one of the key drivers in budgetary over-expenditure and project delays.

"The oil and gas industry is powered by a highly mobile and skilled workforce," said Duncan Gregson , Air Energi’s CEO. "Experienced professionals are extremely sought after, highly remunerated and offered excellent benefits. The critical issue for the industry in 2014 will be retaining staff, which is one of the key drivers in budget-overspend and schedule delays. We must, as an industry, look to collaboration as a solution if we are to solve our ongoing problems."

Training is also essential to solving the problem. The survey, which highlights critical gaps in the industry's workforce, also evaluated the use of internal training to boost the skills of the workforce. Three-quarters