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Study shows rise in 24–29 year olds joining oil and gas sector

The number of young people entering the UK offshore oil and gas industry has shot up in the last six years, according to a recent study.

However, the 2012 Demographics Report from trade body Oil & Gas UK also highlighted a need to recruit more workers with mid-term experience, as shown by the fall in employees aged 35–49.

The study found that the 24–29 age bracket had seen the largest increase in new workers between 2006 and 2011 and that the number of under-35s working in the offshore industry had increased generally.

It also showed that two-and-a-half times more people are joining the industry than are leaving it by comparing the number of workers in 2011 in the 23–28 group (who will be classed as experienced in five years’ time) and the 60–65 group (who will likely have retired or returned to offshore roles).

‘There are still some people who think the workforce is ageing and we’re facing a cliff edge so we wanted to highlight that there were a lot of young people coming into the industry at the other end,’ Alix Thom, Oil & Gas UK’s employment and skills issues manager, told The Engineer.

She said that the shortage of mid-experience workers was due to the level of their expertise, making them strong candidates for working abroad as the industry entered new locations.

Oil & Gas UK is holding its first skills summit on 19 September in Aberdeen, with the aim of discussing ideas for how to attract more people to the industry and forming a collaborative strategy.

Readers' comments (7)

  • As a mechanical engineer in the nuclear industry I wanted to cross into the Oil and Gas sector. But all the agencies / employers kept saying "you need + 5 years experience" am i supposed to get that experience if they will not let me through the door? Its not just me but many others I have spoken too also. If they want to attract new talent then they need to stop being so strict and then they will get the engineers they need.

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  • I second the above comment.

    There are plenty of vacancies and engineers applying for them, but they're all expecting someone to hit the ground running with minimal of training.

    Industry (in general) needs to be realistic and realise that engineers with 'x' years experience in a specific field don't grow on trees!

    They need to rethink their recruitment, take on less experience engineers, provide more entry level roles (Tech Assistant?) and invest in training to close this 'Skills Gap'.

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  • Interesting comments above. It is all about contacts in my experience. I have worked with 5 people in the last 6 years who all had no experience in oil and gas but who knew somebody working there who put a good word in for them.

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  • The above comments only show the shortcomings of many , possibly not all, HR personnel in these days. They have brief of the 'Ideal Candidate' and so hit the checklist and tick boxes. The ability to relate past experience and see 'potential' is missing. Bring back selection to the engineering departments and we may see a marked difference.
    The other way is contacts, as above, but this only emphasises my point, the connections are probably engineers in a related field who see the potential in a candidate. Friends they may be but in this industry we would not employ someone who would not be capable of doing the job.

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  • I worked offshore for many years and now work for a specialist company supplying equipment offshore. We've had a number of service engineers snapped up by customers offshore knowing that they're ready to start in the maintenance side of the business working on the units that they'd just installed and commissioned - none of the 4 had offshore experience beyond our own products.

    Over the last 4 years we've been desperately trying to fill positions in our company but you wouldn't believe how difficult it is finding people with even a general engineering background that we can build upon never mind finding someone who can just jump straight in.

    For the guys struggling to get offshore get your offshore medical and survival courses then contact marine employment agencys to get a foot in the door that way - the work's definitely out there

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  • I am still struggling to find something permanent! Took me 3 years to get offshore but struggling to get out of ad hoc! Seen guys well into there 60's still working! It's just pure greed! Why don't these big oil company's just let the younger people through! I've managed to get a years offshore experience and have been applying to company's but you never get past the +2 years experience!! I am currently 28 and will give up a kidney to get a job where I know when am working and when am not!! The older generation need to stop being do greedy!!

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  • Tell me about it!! I have lived in London for over a year, came here because there were no jobs in my country. I've got two years of experience as a process chemical engineer and have been applying for 8 months without any outcome. I don't have any contacts in the engineering industry here, how long is it gonna take me to build a network?? With two years of experience I am at the same level as recent graduates...and I have wasted a whole year working in the catering industry, SO FAR. After 5 years studying, having achieved better marks and without missing any subject during my degree, I know people whom took more than 5 years to get the title and are working in the field because they knew someone!! Simply not fair.

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