The oil and gas industry could lose an estimated 35,000 jobs within the next five years, a new report has found.
The study, ‘Fuelling the next generation: A study of the UK upstream oil and gas workforce’ was commissioned by industry body Oil and Gas UK, industry skills and safety body Opito and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
It said jobs could fall from 375,000 to 340,000 by 2019.
It also estimates 12,000 new workers will be needed for the UK sector.
The industry currently supports 375,000 jobs, including 57,000 contract personnel.
Produced by professional services firm EY, the study also found the industry has a lower proportion of over-55s at just 10%, compared with the national average of 32%.
The proportion of workers aged 35 and below represents 40% of the workforce while the UK average is 31%.
However the number of women within the industry is still below the national average of 47% with female staff making up just 23% of the workforce.
The offshore oil and gas industry currently employs 1 in 80 of the UK workforce, with the average annual salary now standing at £64,000.
The report also found total employment across the industry is expected to fall over the next five years as investment in the UKCS begins to naturally decline.
This drop should be offset in part by growing supply chain opportunities in export markets and the need to decommission North Sea assets.
Business Minister, Matthew Hancock MP, said: “The Industrial Strategy provides a framework for success for the oil and gas industry. I hope today’s report gives businesses across the UK the tools they need to create more skilled jobs for Britain’s young people, compete on the global stage and help Britain prosper.”
The report has been set out to provide key stakeholders with a framework to act on its findings and develop a ‘skills alliance’.
Around 70% of respondents said they were experiencing difficulties in recruiting, although the shortage is less pronounced than 12-18 months ago.
The report shows it has been limited to specific areas, including drilling, engineering, geosciences and business support services.
Gordon Ballard, chairman of the Oil and Gas Industry Council, said:“As the second largest oil and gas producer in Europe the UK’s offshore oil and gas industry is a great British industrial success story.
“We hope that this report will serve as a useful tool for companies of all sizes, on both sides of the border, to grow not only their domestic business but export their considerable expertise across the globe.”
By Niamh Burns