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New UK North Sea workforce numbers revealed

Written by  OE Staff Thursday, 12 October 2017 03:39

A new report into the UK North Sea oil and gas industry work force shows jobs have dropped to 302,000 from 460,000 in 2014, with the average age of staff increasing slightly to 42.7.

The report in short:

Industry supports more than 302,000 jobs with almost 60% of those in England, 38% in Scotland and the remainder across Northern Ireland and Wales.

The latest employment estimate is 160,000 lower than the peak of more than 460,000 jobs in 2014 – but the pace of contraction has slowed.

More than 52,000 people travelled offshore in the UK in 2016.

Of those, almost 24,000 are the core offshore workforce – people who spend more than 100 days on installations on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).

The number of core workers – directly linked to industry activity levels and spend – has seen a reduction of around 5,300 (18%) since 2014, when capital investment was at its peak, before the downturn.

Activity growth west of Shetland has resulted in the region seeing the greatest rise in offshore employment – more than doubling since 2014 to 4,304 offshore workers last year.

There has been a 42% increase in production per core worker since 2014, driven by industry efficiency improvements as well as higher volumes produced from redeveloped fields and new start-ups.

As the offshore population contracts, the average age of offshore workers has increased slightly by two years over the last two years to 42.7 – but is still roughly in line with the UK average.

Around 15% of the offshore workforce are non-British citizens – about half of whom are from other EU countries.

Other sectors where jobs are supported by the UK oil and gas industry include manufacturing, construction, metal products, finance, retail, and civil engineering, highlighting the economic reach of this industry and its importance to the wider UK economy.

Report author Alix Thom, Workforce Engagement and Skills Manager with Oil & Gas UK, said: “While employment has fallen over the last two years, the rate of contraction appears to be slowing and we are seeing more positive signs, such as increased activity west of Shetland.

“With billions of barrels of oil and gas still to be recovered from the North Sea, we need more fresh investment into the basin to drive new activity and help safeguard the hundreds of thousands of UK wide jobs our sector continues to support.”

The report can be seen here.

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