YOUNG people living in the Grampian and East Anglia regions – home to Scotland’s and England’s oil capitals respectively – still believe there is a long term future in the North Sea and want to pursue a career in the oil and gas industry, according to a new study.
More than 500 students from Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Great Yarmouth, Waveney and Norwich were asked to contribute to the Youth Perception of a Career in the Oil & Gas Industry report which was conducted by the industry skills organisation. OPITO.
The study will be shared with industry as well as the Scottish Government and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy National Careers Service, to help inform and shape national career initiatives in the year ahead.
The report shows that 81% of respondents are still interested in pursuing a career in the sector, with the opportunity to work around the world (24%), the development and use of cutting edge science and technology (20%); and salary (19%) given as the top three reasons among young people aged between 14 and 21.
Opportunities for personal development and the global oil and gas community are also ranked (18% and 12% respectively) while the few respondents who cited an alternative reason expressed a desire to “make a difference in the world” and spoke of the association with forward thinking and innovative processes and equipment within the industry.
A total of 77% of respondents said they consider there to be longevity in the UK North Sea. For those that disagree (18%), a lack of confidence in long term resources, competition from more attractive basins in terms of investment opportunities; and increased future sustainability in alternative energy sectors, namely renewables, are cited among the reasons.
The report concludes that, mirroring the demographics of the industry itself, a larger percentage of males (82%) are still being attracted to a career in oil and gas compared to females, providing the industry with a significant opportunity to tap into new talent.
John McDonald, interim chief executive of OPITO, said: “Despite a general concern with the current messaging being communicated about oil and gas due the challenges facing the industry, a significant 77% of students who provided feedback in 2016 perceive there to be a long term future in the North Sea oil and gas industry.
“However, it is clear that we do need to continue to find ways of attracting women into the sector. Estimates around the proportion of female employees in the oil and gas workforce generally average around 20% and attendance by female students at industry events is even lower which tells us there is a significant pot of untapped talent out there.”
OPITO will continue to track changes in youth perceptions at its careers events throughout 2017, including surveying more than 200 pupils from 11 schools across Grampian who will be connecting with organisations attending Subsea Expo, the world’s largest subsea exhibition and conference.