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Oil & Gas sector knows of skill shortages

Oil & Gas sector knows of skill shortages – but what exactly to do about it?

The oil & gas sector needs no educating on the severe lack of skilled engineers coming into the industry, especially in a time of major international growth and development for E&P firms. And while many companies are now successfully hitting targets on graduate and trainee recruitment, the real problem facing the industry is the recruitment of those with five years or more relevant experience – personnel able to ‘hit the ground running’ and drive forward major projects quickly and competently.

OPITO, the UK oil & gas industry’s training body, recently reported that 44% of companies are expecting significant growth this year – so where will the staff come from to fill these gaps in engineering expertise and management of project development and delivery? Skills shortages were the biggest challenge to the sector’s growth, the report found, and with around 15,000 more jobs potentially being filled in the next five years, the demand for engineers with the necessary skillset was greater than ever. Without it, wage inflation could run out of control.

In another survey carried out by a team at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, 110 companies were asked about their growth prospects. Nine out of 10 anticipated a boost in their international activity, with 67% expecting significant growth as a result of decommissioning work from the North Sea, plus a further 63% expected growth due to renewable energy contracts. The managing director of OPITO, David Binne, remarked that; “…spend on existing projects will… potentially rise to £40 billion… targeted at around 33 new platforms, 12 major asset modifications and 40 subsea tie-backs. This is a startling set of opportunities and our estimates suggest that over 15,000 new posts will be required over the next five years to deliver these project plans.

“Meeting that challenge and increasing the supply pool of experienced talent is critical if we are to avoid inter-company competition, cost inflation and the delay or cancellation of projects.”

Many countries in emerging and developing regions are also seeking to attract talent with the skills to implement exploration, production and delivery of hydrocarbons projects. Additionally, an increase in the number of operators venturing into new frontiers in shale gas and deep water, matched with increasing demand for LNG and the huge potential reserves identified in the likes of Colombia, Angola and the Barents Sea, brings a need for people with specific experience, particularly in the fields of specialist engineering and in the subsea sector.

According to, one of the world’s largest oil and gas careers websites, demand for engineers in the energy sector peaked this year at an astonishing 89,688 open positions. At the start of this year experienced a record-breaking one million visits in a month, a first since its launch 10 years ago.

With such competition among employers for the talent out there, the suggestions are that more pressure will be placed on salaries as employees with relevant skills find themselves cherished and fought over by companies.

But, one interesting new initiative that has recently been launched to assist employers struggling to recruit talent might hold some answers.  A dedicated energy recruitment and workforce development show is to be co-located with the ‘Gastech’ international conference and exhibition this October in London, which will offer a unique opportunity to engineers wishing to learn about many global opportunities available, and of the employers out there who are hiring. More than just a recruitment fair, the ‘ignite!’ show is dedicated to helping employers from around the world source talent for specific projects, matching skillsets to specific regional projects being developed.

Taking place during the ‘Gastech’ international conference & exhibition on the 8th – 11th October, at the ExCel centre in London’s docklands, the ‘ignite!’ show has already proved a huge hit with employers and potential skilled candidates alike, with over 30 major global operators, producers and engineering contractors sharing employment opportunities in their key global projects, and around 3,000 interested candidates expected to visit the stands and training seminars on offer.

It is clear that as companies focus more urgently on their engineering recruitment, the competition for securing the best talent available has never been greater.

To learn more about the ‘ignite!’ show please visit the website:








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