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The oil and gas industry is an integral part of the UK’s economy and one of the nation’s biggest job providers. In fact, a recent report from Ernst and Young (EY), suggested the sector is worth £35 billion a year to Britain.
What’s more, this research, commissioned by Oil and Gas UK, also revealed that some 3,000 companies were directly involved in the industry, with the four years to 2012 seeing more than 20,000 being employed by firms in the sector.
And with another recent report, commissioned by UK Onshore Operations Group (UKOOG), suggesting that a further 64,000 jobs could be created in the UK's shale gas industry if the right investment is made, it seems that there could be further growth.
But just who will benefit from this growth in the oil and gas industry?
Skilled and experienced workers
One of the main challenges highlighted by the EY report would be firms' ability to recruit skilled and experienced workers into the industry.
“The oilfield services sector has an ageing workforce and companies are seeing an increasing number of their highly skilled workforces retiring,” states the report.
Those with the relevant skills will be highly sought after as the industry expands and with the UK already established as a global leader in the oilfield services sector, top candidates may find themselves able to pick and choose their preferred roles.
However, the best workers may already be secured into contracts, which means the government may need to put certain measures in place to help create new talent.
Those leaving education with an interest in the oil and gas sector may find a host of new opportunities available to them in terms of training and recruitment.
More apprenticeship schemes are likely to be put in place as the industry grows. Without a steady stream of skilled individuals coming into the sector, it is hard to see how it will continue to grow at such a sustainable rate.
The EY report said: "Attracting new talent to join the industry is vital for the future of the industry, with many schemes already in place to target skilled personnel from outside the sector, as well as encouraging school leavers and graduates to join the sector."
In a recent survey commissioned by the Bank of Scotland, a number of companies involved in the oil and gas industry stated that they are optimistic about their growth prospects this year.
Some 39,000 jobs could be created over the course of the next two years, and with a number of oil and gas companies being located in the north-east of England and Scotland, people located in these areas could benefit directly from the growth.
Stuart White, Bank of Scotland commercial area director, said: "With most of the UK's oil and gas firms clustered in Aberdeen and the north-east, Scotland should reap the largest share of these new jobs, however, other parts of the UK will benefit from expansion plans."
Shale gas specialists
With UKOOG’s report forecasting that the development of shale gas in the UK could create over 60,000 job opportunities in the sector, those with highly skilled direct site development experience are likely to benefit as the sector grows.
Other roles could also be created in relation to the supply chain, which may give those without specialist exploration site skills a chance to find employment in the industry.
Ken Cronin, chief executive officer of UKOOG, commented on the report: “We are building an industry in this country which will not only potentially give the UK energy security and make a big contribution in tax revenues, but will also bring immense benefits to other industries and create sustainable, well-paid jobs."
However, this kind of growth depends on the development of shale gas in the UK.
Global expansion also on the horizon
Aside from the substantial upturn in job opportunities in the UK, it seems that British energy companies are also keen to explore new markets.
Bank of Scotland survey results found that 64 per cent of executives highlighted international expansion as a priority for them in the coming years, with Africa, North America and the Middle East being the most favourable places in which to invest. Around 44 per cent of the turnover of UK oil and gas firms comes from overseas and 46 per cent of production and exploration companies said they were already planning to drill for more oil overseas in the next 24 months.
Stuart White from the Bank of Scotland added: "The results also demonstrate the global nature of the industry, as more firms look to expand internationally and tap into the markets with the largest levels of recoverable reserves.
"With 44 per cent of income already generated internationally, this is not a new trend, and reflects the reach UK firms have as the industry benefits from the expertise gained in the challenging North Sea environment.
Search Oil and Gas
So, with strong domestic and international growth forecasted for the years ahead, the future certainly looks bright for the UK oil and gas industry. However, it is also clear that to capitalise on these growth opportunities and ensure ongoing expansion, the sector must invest in new talent. Search’s specialist Oil and Gas division can supply oil and gas professionals of all levels, from entry level graduates and Junior Drill Crew, to Senior Management and Directors. For more information on the team and to get in touch, visit our website.