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Specialist demand bucks bleak jobs picture

Specialist demand bucks bleak jobs picture

Unemployment figures may have reached a 17-year high yesterday but firms in Scotland's energy sector are struggling to fill some key vacancies, according to one of Scotland's leading recruitment firms.

The UK jobless total reached 2.6 million in October, according to ONS statistics, but firms working in the oil and gas and renewable energy fields are desperate for properly-skilled recruits to fill specialist vacancies.

Recruitment firm McAdam King said they were struggling to meet demand for positions such as Reservoir engineers, geologists, project managers and mechanical design specialists.

Maureen Blenkharn, a founding director of McAdam King, said: "These are the jobs that firms really need our help in finding the right person. It's particularly challenging because, for many candidates in this area, money isn't a deciding factor.

"Geologists, for instance, are passionate about what they do and any job they go for has to fit in with their long-term career goals. In many cases a really good financial offer isn't as important as the opportunity to work in a particular field their passionate about."

The current shortages could be traced back to the 1990s, according to Maureen.

She explained: "During that time apprenticeship programmes became less commonplace, while electronics was seen as a 'sexier' sector than traditional engineering. Fewer people began training in these disciplines and, as a result, engineers with the right background are in short supply and we have to be innovative in our approach to recruitment."

Blenkharn added: "In the current economic climate it's not enough just to place an advertisement. Many people may appreciate that they are in a safe job and are reluctant to risk moving. And employers are putting up a fight to keep good people. They are well aware that filling any vacancy is going to be costly and time-consuming, so they pull out all the stops to try and hold on to good workers.

"Our approach is to sit down with our clients and work closely with them to define exactly what they are looking for in a candidate - sometimes we have to encourage clients to be more flexible in their expectations.

"McAdam King would never approach a candidate who works for one of our existing clients but we can look to other competitors and we have enjoyed success in finding people through proactive headhunting.

"At a time when there is some pessimism about the employment market it is interesting to see such heavy demand for this skills group."

Hot jobs: The in-demand roles include:

• Geologists

• Reservoir engineers

• Mechanical Design specialists

• Project managers/engineers

• Manufacturing engineers


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