People and skills

As of end 2020, the total number of employees in KPO, including those working on temporary projects, made up 4,368 people with 4,133 of them being Qazaq nationals and 235 expatriates.

Graph 8. KPO employees, 2018–2020
Graph 10. KPO employees by gender, 2018–2020

Graph 10 shows the ratio of employees by gender. In 2020, 3,148 men and 1,220 women worked at KPO.

As of end 2020, the number of temporary employees6 totalled to 120.

Graph 11 shows the turnover of local employees in 2020 broken down by age groups regardless of the type of contract.

Graph 9. KPO employees by type of employment, 2018–2020
Graph 11. Personnel turnover by age, 2020

6 Temporary employee is an external candidate hired for a limited time to replace a directly hired employee, who is on unpaid or maternity leave or seconded to a Parent Company

Fig. 11. KPO employees by region, %

The map describes the geography of where KPO employees reside across the country

Graph 12 shows the turnover of local employees in 2020 broken down by gender. In 2020, the new employees hired in KPO made up 2.3 % of the average number of employees. The turnover made 1.1 % in 2020 versus 1.7 % in 2019 (see graph 13).

According to the RoQ Labour legislation, the turnover indicator includes the number of employees, who resigned on a voluntary basis.

Graph 12. Personnel turnover by gender, 2020
Graph 13. Dynamics of local personnel turnover7 , 2018–2020

7 Calculation of local turnover indicator is performed according to the following formula: personnel turnover = the number of personnel, who voluntarily resigned during the reporting year / the average number of employees for the same period × 100.


Collective bargaining is essential in the Company. Trade unions play a key role in supporting and protecting employees’ rights. Trade unions develop draft Collective Agreements addressing various aspects of social and labour relations and bargain with the Company to improve working conditions of the employees. Three Trade Unions represent the interests of KPO employees:

  • Public Association “Local Trade Union of Karachaganak Petroleum Operating B.V. employees”;
  • Public Association “Karachaganak Local Professional Union of KPO employees and contractors”
  • Public Association “TRUST” Local Trade Union of Karachaganak Petroleum Operating B.V. employees and contractor companies”.

The Collective Agreement signed for 2019–2021 was effective in 2020.

Provisions of the Collective Agreement are applied to all KPO employees regardless of their membership in the Trade Unions.

KPO has a few grievance mechanisms: applications to HR Controllership either directly or through Trade Union, and via the anonymous Hotline. In 2020, HR received 64 applications, including grievances. The received grievances addressed such issues as labour misconduct, employment, conflict resolution, abuse of power, misconduct with contractor employees. All received grievances were reviewed and resolved.

In accordance with the Collective agreement, KPO has the obligation to raise a minimum two-month (8 weeks) notice to Trade Unions in case of liquidation of the Company with a subsequent reduction in staff, system or amount of remuneration leading to deprivation of employees’ conditions.

The Company supports the application of the Voluntary Dissolution of Employment Relationship Programme as part of the Collective Agreement and pursuant to the RoQ Labour Code dated 2017 (Art. 52). The program applies to men aged 58-63 and women aged 53-58. In 2020, 43 KPO employees applied for the voluntary dissolution of employment relations (42 employees in 2019, 24 employees in 2018 and 45 employees in 2017).

In order to optimize costs, increase efficiency and maintain the Company’s competitiveness when the oil price is low, in November 2020 the Company has launched one-time Programme for Voluntary Dissolution of Employment Relations. 42 applications were approved under this programme.

Industrial Relations

To avoid the possibility of forced labour and/or violations of the rights of employees to hold meetings or obtain collective concessions, KPO has regular meetings to explain the requirements of the legislation, as well as internal rules and regulations. The above risks may arise in the event of insufficient attention to compliance with legal standards in contracting and subcontracting organizations.

The current production and the activities on further development and expansion projects at the Karachaganak field are mainly carried out by contractors. Therefore, the successful implementation of the tasks and performance indicators depend on effective labour relations in KPO and within contracting and subcontracting organisations involved.

In this regard, KPO pays special attention to compliance with labour legislation and sanitary and hygienic standards of the Republic of Qazaqstan within the framework of implemented contracts for the provision of works and services.

In 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak and the current economic situation made it necessary to take unprecedented measures to ensure safety and health of all Company employees. While introducing restrictive measures, KPO liaised with regulatory authorities and contractors/subcontractors in order to devise the required algorithm and mechanism of action.

As part of the support for local suppliers of goods and services, KPO organized PCR testing of contractors’ employees in compliance with the mandatory requirements regarding the implementation of sanitary and restrictive measures. In order to avoid additional financial burden on small businesses, these costs are fully recovered by KPO as of June 1, 2020.

Over the past year, suggestions, complaints and comments received from personnel were discussed and reviewed at the level of contractors’ management, various KPO directorates and contract holders with the aim of required response and corrective actions.

Cooperation between KPO and contractors / subcontractors both in the course of ongoing operations and as part of the Karachaganak project implementation has ensured operational safety and stability in the workforce.


Development of the national personnel is a continuous process in KPO. Professional competency is maintained and developed through the available system of training and skill improvement.

In 2020, KPO in cooperation with the PSA Authority approved the 2020–2025 Programme for Local Content Increase in Staff. The results achieved in the implementation of the previous programme were taken into account while developing the new one.

In 2020, 23 positions previously held by expatriate personnel were nationalised, 54 positions were abolished. Local employees made up 94 % of the total Company’s staff as of December 2020. In total, over 233 expatriate specialists were replaced with national employees and 239 positions held by expatriate employees were abolished in the period of 1999 – 2020. The breakdown by categories is presented in table 20. 

Tab. 20. Increase of Local Content in KPO staff by categories of employees



RoQ legal requirement

Local content in staff





Executive management and their deputies, Department / Unit management

Minimum 70 %

83 %

79 %

77 %


Professional staff / qualified workers

Minimum 90 %

97 %

96 %

95 %

Additionally, in accordance with the goals set in this Programme, KPO keeps tracking the local content in contractors registered in the West Qazaqstan Oblast. In 2020, 43 companies provided their quarterly, biannual and annual Local Content in Staff reports. The Local Content in staff within these organizations made up to 79 % in the category ‘Executive management and their deputies Department / Unit management’ and 94 % in the category ‘Professional staff / Qualified workers’.

Graph 14 presents the total number of expatriate and local senior and middle management of the Company split by age and gender. This includes KPO core structure and temporary projects.

Graph 14. Number of local and expatriate managers by age and gender, 2020


For the safe and efficient operations of the Karachaganak field facilities, we always need the highly qualified personnel. KPO applies worldwide experience of its parent companies and attracts various international and Qazaqstani training organizations to raise professional qualification of its personnel.

Every year, KPO conducts a variety of training programs aimed at:

  • improving the personnel skills to achieve production and exploration goals;
  • mandatory HSE training, as required by the RoQ legislation, the Company’s internal procedures and best international practices.

In 2020, 76 % of the Company’s local employees were trained and engaged in various professional development programmes, professional training and retraining, online seminars and conferences.

Besides, in 2020, KPO conducted training of the specialized international programmes (see graph 15), language skills, and professional and mandatory HSE courses.

Training statistics 

As responsible organization, KPO ensures mandatory HSE training both for its own staff and for personnel of its contractor organizations. In 2020, 445,122 hours of training (686,709 hours in 2019) were held, of which 295,495 were provided to KPO employees (363,286 in 2019). The remaining 149,627 hours (323,423 hours in 2019) were spent on the HSE mandatory courses for the employees of the contractor organizations.

Totally, in 2020 19,637 people were trained, 3,134 of them – KPO employees and 16,503 – contractor personnel. Average training hours are given in qraph 16.

Graph 15. KPO personnel trained on the International Qualification certified programmes in 2020

Training arranged for KPO employees in 2020 by categories is shown in table 21.

Tab. 21. Training of employees by categories, 2018–2020





1. Managers and supervisors

92 people (73.99 hours per 1 employee)

161 people (66.60 hours per 1 employee)

172 people (54.84 hours per 1 employee)

2. Qualified specialists / supervisors

1,439 people (81.93 hours per 1 employee)

1,250 people (88.96 hours per 1 employee)

1,364 people (67.96 hours per 1 employee)

3. Technical personnel

1,484 people (113.01 hours per 1 employee)

2,044 people (111.73 hours per 1 employee)

1,494 people (121.07 hours per 1 employee)

4. Office and administrative personnel

119 people (25.81 hours per 1 employee)

150 people (86.53 hours per 1employee)

84 people (44.99 hours per 1 employee)



Context / short description:

In the period of 2017 – 2020, KPO launched the third intake of the Enhanced Development Programme (EDP) aimed at identifying high-potential local employees and further development of their skills. While implementing the programme, the main focus was made on creating a talent pool to meet the Company’s business needs, including the selection of talented employees, identifying their strengths and weaknesses, developing and implementing individual development programs, and as a result appointing them to planned positions.


  • Create conditions for employees to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for sustainable professional growth by applying the development tools, such as coaching, internship at the Parent Companies’ assets, formal training, certified programmes and mentoring.
  • Ensure continuity of workforce planning.

Solution / actions:

From February through May 2017, KPO Training and Development Department had been selecting candidates to participate in the programme. Since the beginning of 2018, a number of events have been held to train and develop participants in accordance with their individual development plans, including quarterly meetings with current KPO Directors and Parent Company top management. It is worth mentioning that using the SAP application has helped us creating a unified platform for participants to work and interact effectively with line management, the assigned coaches and mentors.

In 2019, we paid considerable attention to coaching. The ‘International tendencies in coaching’ seminar received positive feedback from participants.

At the beginning of 2020, a forum titled ‘Inspire Yourself and Inspire Others’ was held with engagement of a famous coaching expert from Russia. As a result, participants mastered the coaching tools aimed at self-motivation and the motivation of others.

In total, five forums on the leadership development were held in the course of the program. According to the results, about 80 % of the surveyed participants noted that the activities carried out helped them raise their leadership competency level.


The final year of the programme in 2020 fell at the COVID-19 pandemic, which have adjusted its implementation. Despite that, the programme was successfully completed at the end of 2020. The total number of participants in the third training intake was 161 people. By the end of the programme, 56 % of the participants attained the roles as planned; and their individual development plans were completed by 77 %.

Participants, who did not attain the assigned roles within the programme, were put into the Company’s high-potentials pool.

Graph 16. Average number of training hours per one training course passed by nominated KPO employees in 2020, by type



Context / short description:

At the launch of the facilities under the Phase IIM in 2007, the availability of highly qualified production and maintenance personnel in the region was limited. KPO initiated an OPITO Standards training programme in order to enhance qualifications and skills of local personnel.


The key task of the Programme is to create a pool of high potential personnel among local the graduates of the Qazaqstani universities to ensure safe operations of the Karachaganak Field facilities.

Solution / actions:

Since 2008, as part of dual education, KPO has been implementing the Professional Development Programme for Production Operators, Mechanical Technicians, Electrical Technicians and Instrument Technicians based on the international standard of the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organization (ОPIТО). Once selected, candidates are trained according to international standards gaining both theoretical and practical knowledge. Upon a successful completion of the programme, interns are hired by the Company and start their careers at the production units. The value of this training programme lies in the methodology provided in a block-module format. This approach allows developing a set of competencies, which focus on the ability to address production issues in workplace.


A total of 492 students have completed the programme between 2008 and 2020.

In 2020, we continued the training under the Professional Development Programme for Production Operators and Mechanical Technicians started in 2019.

In September 2020, 36 trainees completed the theoretical module on specialities of Production Operator, Electrical Technician and Instrument Technician and were assigned to pass internship in Production and Maintenance department.


KPO maintains fair work conditions, which are ensured mostly by competitive salary and various benefits.

A package of benefits is provided to all KPO direct employees; the package consists of monetary and non-monetary rewards. For the employees hired at KPO via recruitment agencies, the collective agreements of these agencies are applied.

Most rewards are included in the Collective Agreement that was reviewed in 2019 and remains effective for the period 2019–2021. 

Pursuant to the existing procedures, each year KPO offers an upgrade on the employees’ remuneration, including the cost-of-living salary increase at the beginning of the year, annual performance review bonus for those, who received positive ratings based on annual performance, and also individual pay rises and additional lump sum payments.

The year 2020 was challenging from the economic point of view, nonetheless KPO did not stop making payments as prescribed in the Collective Agreement. In 2020, two general salary increases were made: the first payment of 6.4 % reflecting the inflation level for the previous 2019 and an additional 1 % pay rise under the terms of the Collective Agreement in January; the second payment of 10.6 % increase in March as a result of negotiations with Trade Unions.

According to General Director’s memorandum, in order to maintain uninterrupted production for the period of the COVID-19 lockdown, a special operation group of employees was created and was additionally remunerated on a monthly basis.

Throughout the year, there was no downsizing in the Company, but in order to optimize the organizational structure, employees were offered to apply to a Programme on Voluntary Dissolution of Employment Relationship with Provision of Benefits.

According to the annual benchmarking for compliance with the market level of remuneration in oil and gas sector in Qazaqstan, the average salary in KPO as of 2020 was three and a half times higher than an average salary in the West Qazaqstan Oblast (WQO). As a result of this analysis, no additional salary adjustment was proposed in 2020. 

Performance and Development Review 

Performance and Development Review (PDR) is one of the feedback tools aimed at monitoring and enhancing work efficiency. The PDR process covers Qazaqstani employees, who have an employment agreement with KPO for minimum half a year.

In light of the transfer of most employees to remote work as part of measures preventing the spread of coronavirus infection, the PDR process has been revised and simplified. In particular, ratings distribution scale included “Strong”, “Fully Effective” and “Needs Improvement”. The ratings “Exceptional” and “Unsatisfactory” were not used.

For those employees holding managerial positions, a process to monitor their Key Performance Indicators against the set targets is arranged separately.