Demand for skilled staff in UK oil and gas industry set to rise

Oil rig, off the coast of Scotland

Tens of thousands of jobs are expected to be created in the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry this year, a new report has predicted.

Specialist recruitment website Oilandgaspeople.com believes that between 40,000 and 50,000 new jobs could be created over the coming 12 months, although it also warned of skill shortages, the BBC said today.

The shortage of qualified and experienced employees in the industry means that there will be upward pressure on pay rates, Malcolm Webb, chief executive of trade body Oil & Gas UK, told Scottish newspaper The Herald.

Kevin Forbes, chief executive of Oilandgaspeople.com, commented that the demand for qualified staff is likely to reach an all-time high this year, exacerbating an already serious skills shortage. This problem is being made even worse as UK candidates look for jobs abroad, where there is considerable demand for qualified expatriates and higher wages are on offer, he said.

A significant number of new North Sea projects have been unveiled in the last few months and more announcements are expected over the course of this year. Meanwhile international demand for oil and gas workers is rising as activity increases in countries including Canada, Australia and Brazil.

At present the average UK wage in the industry stands at GBP64,000, but Kevin Forbes from Oilandgaspeople.com believes this will rise by around 15%.

In related news, engineering support services company Babcock announced today that it has been awarded a GBP30m contract to build subsea structures for oil fields west of Shetland, securing around 100 jobs. The new contract, awarded by oil giant BP (LSE:BP), is for the manufacture and supply of 74 subsea structures to help extend the field life of the Schiehallion and Loyal oil fields.

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