August 23, 2018

 

The UK’s offshore oil and gas sector must build upon efforts to recruit and retain a diverse range of new talent into the industry if it is to realise its ambition for the future, Vision 2035, a report by leading industry representative body Oil & Gas UK has found.

Insights from its latest study into the sector’s workforce have today (Thursday 23 August) shown that total employment is expected to stabilise and increase slightly this year. Oil & Gas UK’s 2018 Workforce Report forecasts an increase across direct, indirect and induced employment to 282,700, from 280,000, in 2017.

This comes after total employment supported by industry fell by 14 percent in 2017 – below previous estimates of 302,000 as the downturn continued to be felt by the supply chain. Increased levels of investment were seen in the sector but were slow to filter through.

The industry body today said that the wider workforce trends are indicating an industry working to deliver Vision 2035, with efficiency improvements and technological transformation being introduced, suggesting new ways of working for the UK’s oil and gas sector. It comes as the report shows the average offshore age of the workforce fell last year, with a 20 percent increase in offshore workers under the age of 30.

However, Oil & Gas UK today warned investment continues to be needed to stimulate activity and generate sustainable growth.

The report shows:

• The average age of offshore workers in 2017 was 42.2, compared with 42.7 in 2016
• The number of offshore workers under the age of 30 has increased by over 20 per cent since 2016
• Women represented three percent of the offshore workforce, and 23 percent for the industry overall
• Almost 50,000 people travelled offshore in 2017, 6 per cent down on the previous year
• 14 per cent of those who travelled offshore in 2017 were from outside the UK, half of those coming from other EU countries
• The west of Shetland area has seen the largest growth in employment with workers in the area more than doubling since 2014 thanks to several major developments.
• The continued pressure on drilling is reflected in the offshore population figures, which have seen a 35 percent decline in drilling roles since 2014.

Commenting, report author and Oil & Gas UK Workforce Engagement and Skills Manager Dr Alix Thom said:

“Our report shows a stabilisation in the total employment supported by industry, returning to levels in line with the long-term trend before the peak in activity in 2014.

“This has not been without a personal cost to many, and the revised figures for 2017 show the scale of the downturn is even more severe than previously understood.

“The slight upturn forecast for 2018 suggests that the greatest period of rationalization is behind us. Industry must maintain its focus on efficiency whilst securing badly needed investment in the basin to stimulate fresh activity. This sustainable approach is key to maintaining the workforce profile needed to deliver our long ambitions for the basin.

“It is encouraging that the number of offshore workers under the age of 30 continues to grow. However, with women representing 23 percent of the total workforce and three percent of those travelling offshore, industry must retain its focus on improving diversity and inclusion across the sector.

“As our report notes, advancements in technology will inevitably spell new ways of working, for example increased digitalisation could see a rise in offshore work being done remotely. It will be vital for the industry to understand the existing and future skill profiles in the workforce and proactively develop the talent required.

“It sets the platform for recruiting and retaining the people needed to deliver Vision 2035–a new intake of highly skilled, adaptable and creative talent, with the diversity needed to maximise economic recovery and identify supply chain opportunities at home and abroad.”

The 2018 Workforce report can be downloaded here:  https://oilandgasuk.cld.bz/Workforce-Report-2018

ENDS

Notes to Editors:
1. Between 2009 and 2014, oil and gas expenditure experienced sustained growth, which is reflected in the employment estimates. Over the period total employment grew from around 280,000 in 2009 to a peak of over 450,000 in 2014. However, there was a sharp drop in 2015, when employment contracted to around 380,000. The latest estimates for 2016 and 2017 show employment levels supported by the industry falling to levels not previously seen since 2010/11, with 280,000 jobs estimated to be supported by oil and gas activity in 2017 and a slight increase to 282,000 forecast for 2018. The employment trends mirror those seen in expenditure over time.
2. Vision 2035 is industry’s shared ambition for the sector, which aims to add a generation of productive life to the basin and expand the supply chain’s share of the export market. Further info here.

Issued by the Communications Team, Oil & Gas UK. Contact Lucy Buglass Communications Adviser on 020 7802 2404 / lbuglass@oilandgasuk.co.uk

Oil & Gas UK is the leading representative organisation for the UK offshore oil and gas industry. Its membership comprises oil and gas producers and contractor companies.