The oil and gas industry must work without delay alongside educational establishments to entice a new generation of engineers if a massive talent shortage is to be averted, according to the recruitment industry news source Recruitment International.
Despite unprecedented levels of investment in the UK continental shelf totalling £100 billion, around 50% of the most skilled engineers will become eligible for retirement over the next ten years, potentially stalling future projects.
Approximately 15,000 new jobs are expected to be created within the next five years, and there is a serious question about whether there is sufficient home-grown talent to fill these vacancies; in fact, this number will be dwarfed by forthcoming investment in the shale gas sector, according to the Institute of Directors, which is expected to hit $3.7 billion (£2.4 billion) per year and support 74,000 jobs.
School pupils must be informed about the potentially exciting careers they can enjoy as engineers, and initiatives such as the Institute of Chemical Engineers’ Whynotchemeng campaign, designed to attract youngsters as they make key decisions about their futures, need to be reduplicated in the oil and gas sector.
Cross-training from related sectors such as infrastructure and power can also help, as can tapping into the talent pool represented by ex-military personnel, who often have highly valuable project management experience as well as ‘hard skills’ in telecoms, logistics and engineering.
Recent government restrictions on visas for workers outside the European Economic Area will make it considerably harder to make up the skills shortfall with overseas engineering talent.
Umbrella Company Employees with the requisite engineering and IT skills are likely to be spoilt for choice in the North Sea.