cgg logoIn all environments, we acquire process and interpret surveys that provide our clients with a comprehensive understanding of their subsurface targets and geological settings. We deliver our unique expertise in geoscience technology and project management through our three complementary business activities: Equipment, Acquisition and GGR (Geology, Geophysics and Reservoir).

Is there a different entry point for employees with a postgraduate degree? 

For our large graduate intake across our multiple UK sites, we only hire from a MSci, MSc, PhD or equivalent. The salary we offer new graduates is aligned to academic qualifications and there is a small difference in remuneration between MSc and PhD qualified candidates. In all other aspects of on boarding and training, all graduates join us with the same opportunities to develop their technical and professional skills and to learn in a collaborative working environment.

What are the benefits to you in hiring employees with a Masters or PhD?

We look for candidates who are clearly passionate and interested in the technical side of their studies. Those with a Masters or PhD demonstrate additional commitment to their technical subject. At MSc and PhD level, there is an increased requirement for independent work which requires the ability to manage time effectively, contribute and defend their own ideas and handle challenging projects. As well as this, many will have also published papers and contributed more widely at conferences, which are all fantastic transferable skills that we look for.

Do you encounter any challenges with employees with a Masters or PhD?

As we only recruit from MSci, MSc, PhD or equivalent then the challenges they face are more generally aligned to the transition into the workplace and learning to adapt to a commercial environment. In response to feedback we have received from our more recent employees, we have recently introduced a formal quarterly feedback scheme as well as defined career pathways to help guide the development process. We frequently ask our employees for feedback and their ideas and encourage our graduates to challenge us more!

What skills, knowledge and expertise do you look for in applicants with a Masters or PhD? 

At CGG we focus on the ongoing assessment and development of our employees' technical, client services and collaboration skills. We have our core standards, then we look for leadership potential within each of these areas. We constantly have to drive our business forward and we’re looking for people who can help us do that.

For technical competence, we look for those that have excellent analytical and problem solving skills; fast learners with drive and creativity, who are curious and can innovate.

In our Image processing and Satellite Mapping division, we look for those who’ve already demonstrated they can excel in maths, physics, signal processing or geophysics. The candidates we take on will learn to apply and develop the latest processing and imaging techniques to create state of the art images. We need people to test our existing methods, assess and question the results and find better ways of doing what we do in the future. Coding is also becoming desired skillset.

In our Geological focused business divisions, we equally look for those who’ve demonstrated excellence in either Geophysics, Geology or Geoscience disciplines; those who can interpret data, compile and synthesise results.

For the customer service aspect we look for people who can communicate effectively, with a high level of integrity, initiative and intuition. We deal with many different clients predominantly from the Oil and Gas sector. They all have different challenges with their data, which may be required for the exploration, development or production phase. It is a competitive industry and we excel at providing excellent solutions. We do not compete on price, we do aim to exceed our clients’ expectations every time we run a project. We therefore need people that are able to build trust with a client, to understand their requirements, manage expectations and build professional relationships to deliver on our existing projects and win the next project.

We expect collaboration, and we look for people who communicate openly and honestly, who are good listeners, persuasive and adaptable and for those who will look wider than their immediate team for input to potential solutions. We are an integrated geoscience company with expertise in different sectors as well as across different regions. We work in project teams with people from different backgrounds and expertise and we also like to consider our clients an extension of our project teams. Many of the challenges that are faced cannot be solved by the immediate team and we have to collaborate with our colleagues in different business lines across geographical locations. Whatever the challenge, we’ll help you make the connections that you can then work with, but likewise, we also expect you to contribute outside your immediate project team.

Thinking about the direction your organisation is heading in and changes in the wider sector, how do you envisage your hiring strategy changing in the next 10 years?  What skills, knowledge and expertise will you be looking for in new employees/postgraduates? 

Within our Image Processing Division, we are already seeing a drive towards more coding as our imaging scientists are not just using and suggesting improvements to our existing code but starting to make those modifications themselves; blurring the lines between developers, research and what has typically been called processing and imaging. The development of machine learning and deep learning techniques over the next few years has the potential to change and improve significantly the way we work and the solutions that we offer to our clients.

Our hiring strategy for this division is continually evolving from a general geoscience background to focussing on the geophysics aspect of geoscience, and to include those backgrounds which contain strong maths, physics or signal processing, which might include anything from Maths, Physics, Astrophysics, Electronic Engineering, Biomedical Engineering – or related subjects.

Across all Graduate Programmes in the UK we are looking for the leaders of the future and our recruitment strategy will continue to evolve so that we are able to identify, assess and retain excellence for the future success of CGG.


Thank you to Sharon Howe, Business Manager for this case study.


Professional Services