Umbrella Company Employees specialising in the oil and gas industry may find themselves heavily sought after by North Sea Oil companies: an industry-wide survey by the international jobs board oilandgaspeople.com has revealed that 70% of these companies are struggling to recruit suitable candidates.

The survey found that, over the coming decade, the oil and gas industry will need to recruit and train 125,000 new staff in order to plug the gap caused by the current generation of workers retiring. Around 44% of the oilfield workforce is already aged 45 or older, and the number hitting retirement age is rising daily.

Acknowledging that record investment in the North Sea could help to boost the economy, oilandgaspeople.com CEO Kevin Forbes warned of a “dark cloud on the horizon”: a fast-dwindling talent pool.

He said: “It’s one thing having record levels of investment, but if you don’t have enough people to do the jobs then the growth will grind to a halt. As our survey found, the industry specialisms that are most hard to fill are those with an ageing workforce. It’s no surprise that geoscientists and drilling specialists are hard to recruit, as these key workers are retiring in large numbers.”

He went on to observe that after shedding thousands of specialists 20 years ago, the industry is now “waking up to a big retirement headache.”

The survey also found that 75% of the firms polled were struggling to recruit subsea specialists, and 65% couldn’t recruit enough project engineers.

Sir Mervyn King’s prediction that North Sea investment would boost the UK economy may, it seems, be hobbled by a skills shortage.

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