Trade survey shows oil and gas industry needs to recruit 2,000 new N. Sea workers a year for next 20 years

Professor Paul de Leeuw (left) and OPITO’s John McDonald show the North Sea oil jobs report
Professor Paul de Leeuw (left) and OPITO’s John McDonald show the North Sea oil jobs report

More than 40,000 new workers will need to be recruited into the North Sea oil and gas industry over the next 20 years – including 10,000 people in posts that don’t exist today.

Representatives from operating companies and supply chain firms from across the UK took part in the data gathering exercise carried out by Robert Gordon University and the OPITO skills training body.

The workforce data collected totalled 34,000 roles, representing 50% of the gross operated production in the UKCS. The review identifies common roles and categorises them into broad job families to study potential impacts.

The UKCS Workforce Dynamics Review assesses the changing skills requirements for the industry over the next 20 years. The research will assist in providing a roadmap for a new skills strategy to ensure the sector is ready to take advantage of emerging roles and diversification opportunities.

Modelling different scenarios, the report shows that whilst total employment will fall over time, if the industry achieves its ambitions around Vision 2035 and the lower carbon transition, tens of thousands more posts can be safeguarded and around 10,000 people will need to be recruited in emerging digital roles that don’t exist today in data analytics, data science, robotics and remote operations.

Professor Paul de Leeuw, Director of the RGU Oil and Gas Institute, commented: “Technology, innovation and the transition to a lower carbon future will re-shape the sector.

With over 40,000 people potentially entering the industry over the next 20 years and with a substantial proportion of the workforce to be up-skilled, there is a critical role for training providers, vocational institutes and universities to help future-proof the sector and to ensure the UK retains its reputation as a leading energy basin.”

An OPITO spokesman added: “As the industry emerges from the downturn, it is crucial that we take a longer term look at the future UK oil and gas skills requirements. A new skills strategy will help us to take action now to prepare for emerging roles and ensure the existing workforce is being given opportunities to up-skill.

“Whilst total employment will fall over the next two decades, this will be a more gradual process than the sharp hit experienced over the last three years.

“If the industry can work together to achieve ambitions around production and energy diversification, tens of thousands more roles can be safeguarded and our industry will continue to be one of the key industrial sectors in the UK for years to come.”

11 May 2018

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