Career challenge outstrips money for youngsters entering oil business
13 Mar 2017
International work, innovation and the opportunity for personal development are overtaking the lure of high salaries for youngsters considering a career in the oil and gas sector, reveals a new report.
Sector skills organisation OPITO surveyed 500 youngsters attending industry-specific events for its study Youth Perception of a Career in the Oil & Gas Industry.
It demonstrated a high level of confidence (77%) in the future of the industry including the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) of the North Sea, with more than eight out of 10 respondents interested in pursuing a career in oil and gas.
John McDonald, interim chief executive of OPITO remarked: “These results are extremely encouraging for the future of the UK’s exploration and production sector, particularly in light of the challenges posed by the ongoing low oil price environment.
“The high salaries associated with oil and gas have often been cited as a primary attraction in the past so it is refreshing to see other factors coming to the fore.”
High salaries have been cited as a primary attraction so it is refreshing to see other factors coming to the fore
John McDonald, interim chief executive, OPITO
However, McDonald cautioned against over-optimism, saying the sector needed to prepare for its long-term future.
“[We] should not lose sight of the fact that roughly a quarter of those who attended the events disagree, suggesting that if we do not take action we are in danger of having a reasonable proportion of next generation talent discouraged from pursuing a career in this industry,” he commented.
A key concern he said was the continued imbalance between the number of male and female recruits.
“It is clear that we do need to continue to find ways of attracting women into the sector. Estimates around the proportion of female employees in the oil and gas workforce generally average around 20% and attendance by female students at industry events is even lower which tells us there is a significant pot of untapped talent out there,” said McDonald.
Director of energy at Scottish Enterprise and a member of the Scottish Government’s Energy Jobs Taskforce, Maggie McGinlay, added:
“I am reassured by today’s results that young people do still recognise the important, rewarding and diverse jobs the oil and gas sector can offer.”