A report on the UK oil and gas workforce dynamics says that more than 40,000 new people will need to be recruited into the industry over the next 20 years, including 10,000 posts that don’t exist today.
The UKCS Workforce Dynamics Review, created by global energy skills body OPITO in partnership with the Robert Gordon University (RGU) Oil and Gas Institute, 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.
According to RGU, 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.
John McDonald, CEO of OPITO said: “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.”
Professor Paul de Leeuw, director of the RGU Oil and Gas Institute, said: “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.”
80,000 people to retire by 2035
The other findings in the report claim that 80,000 workers are likely to retire or leave the sector for other reasons by 2035. Also, on the basis that the industry can achieve the goals around Vision 2035 and the wider energy diversification, the industry should be able to sustain over 130,000 roles in 2035, compared to around 170,000 in 2017, a decline rate of less than 1.5% per year.
According to the University, a new skills strategy is required to ensure the industry responds effectively to securing future talent requirements and achieving the best case scenario to safeguard posts.
Representatives from operating companies and supply chain firms from across the UK took part in the data gathering exercise. The workforce data collected totaled 34,000 roles, representing 50% of the gross operated production in the UKCS. The review identifies common roles and categorizes them into broad job families to study potential impacts.
Vision 2035 captures the ambition of the industry to produce an additional three billion barrels of oil and gas by 2035 and to double the UK’s share of the global oil and gas supply chain market from 3.7% to over 7% by 2035. The industry is currently developing a roadmap for Vision 2035.
McDonald added: “The skills strategy that will emerge from the review is likely to include the development of new programs and courses involving input from employers, trade unions, governments, agencies, educational establishments and commercial training organizations.”