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Fresh insight into UK oil and gas jobs scene captured in new report

10 October 2017

New data providing more insight into the employment picture of the UK offshore oil and gas industry is published today (7 October) by Oil & Gas UK – the sector’s trade body.

The people working on offshore installations are a key focus of the Workforce Report which reveals the areas they travel from across the UK to get to their jobs offshore and how many are based in different regions of the UK Continental Shelf.

The report also looks at total employment for the industry and shows the regions across the UK where jobs are based.  Also highlighted are the other diverse industries – including financial services, retail and construction – where jobs are supported by the UK oil and gas sector.

The report says:

  • Industry supports more than 302,000[1] 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: “Our report sheds more light on the employment of an industry that has seen a significant contraction because of the global downturn.

“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.


Notes to Editors:

The Workforce Report 2017 expands on the industry employment data published within Oil & Gas UK’s Economic Report 2017.

It provides more detail on the total employment supported across the whole upstream industry, both on and offshore, and draws on the Vantage Personnel on Board data to look exclusively at the breakdown of the offshore workforce.

Meanwhile, as part of its effort to attract more investment into the UK Continental Shelf and drive new activity and help safeguard jobs, Oil & Gas UK has submitted its asks of Treasury from the forthcoming Autumn Budget. The trade body is calling for:

  • Continued public commitment to the Driving Investment Plan – as this provides investors with the required fiscal predictability and confidence to invest in the UKCS.
  • Enabling Transferable Tax History – allowing a part of tax history to transfer from the seller to the buyer of North Sea oil and gas assets, which allows assets to move to those most suited to extend the productive life of the basin.
  • Support for the supply chain – by improving access to finance and recognition of competitiveness, attracting new investment.

Issued by the Communications Team, Oil & Gas UK. Contact Communications Manager Jennifer Phillips on 01224 577279 / [email protected].

Oil & Gas UK is the leading representative organisation for the UK offshore oil and gas industry. Its membership comprises oil and gas producers and contractor companies.

[1] The number covers the full spectrum of employment – direct, indirect, and induced jobs.

  • Direct – those employed by companies extracting oil and gas.
  • Indirect – those who provide goods and services for an oil and gas company.
  • Induced – local economy jobs that benefit from the sector eg hospitality.

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