Manning the rigs: a study of offshore employment in Ghana's oil industry
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Since the discovery of oil in Ghana, expectations for the oil to stimulate economic development are high. Essential to economic development as an outcome of resource exploitation is local participation. This study examined Ghanaian participation in the offshore sector. The general objective of the study is to explore the offshore employment opportunities, challenges and outcomes for Ghanaians in the emerging oil and gas industry. The specific objectives are to examine (a) the processes involved in getting recruited to a rig (b) employment opportunities available for Ghanaians (c) how the employment opportunities are gendered (d) which categories of Ghanaians get employed (e) the role of social network in the employment process and (f) how offshore employment made an impact in the lives of rig workers. To achieve the research goals, I used conceptual frameworks derived from theories of social networks (Granovetter 1983, 1995), labour markets (Fields, 2011; Fevre, 1992; Loveridge and Mok 1979) and gender (Padavic and Reskin, 2002). The concepts of strong ties' and weak ties' within social networks theory is used to identify and analyse how rig workers get to hear about employment opportunities. It has been found that access to information through social contacts influences the types of jobs they get. Using gender and feminists, theories the study found that ideologies of gender appropriate work influence the employment opportunities of both men and women. The concept of intersectionality identified that, people face multiple challenges in their search for offshore jobs. From a labour market perspective, the human capital difference between men and women influence the demand for their labour and their career decision. A sample of 70 informants comprising 59 men and 11 women were interviewed. Findings from the study include the following: (i) the employment opportunities available for Ghanaians are in the low echelon jobs, (ii) employers prefer to recruit people with previous offshore experience, (iii) men have better chances of employment and career advancement than women socio-cultural structures and beliefs of gender appropriate work limits women's offshore employment opportunities. Social networks have been found to be crucial in the employment process and outcome; it influenced the type of work people get and is gendered. These and other empirical findings are discussed in details in the thesis.
PublisherThe University of Bergen
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