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Shortage To Stifle Oil & Gas Boom?

Shortage To Stifle Oil & Gas Boom?

Sir Mervyn King’s claim that North Sea oil will boost economic recovery faced a set back as an industry wide survey of North Sea Oil companies found that 70% are struggling to recruit quality candidates, and the recruitment crisis is set to get worse.

The quarterly industry survey, released by, the world’s largest oil and gas jobs board, found that the industry will need to recruit and train 125,000 new staff in the next 10 years if they are to fill the gap as workers retire and boost economic recovery.

More than 44% of the oilfield workforce is already aged over 45 years of age and many are already hitting retirement age.

The survey found that while the tax breaks for the industry were promoting record investment it was also creating an even greater demand for already scarce skilled professionals.

The survey found which roles the oil and gas industry were finding it hard to recruit. Of the Oil and Gas companies surveyed:

25% couldn’t recruit enough well engineers
75% couldn’t recruit enough subsea specialists
38% couldn’t recruit enough drilling specialists
37% couldn’t recruit enough HSE specialists
65% couldn’t recruit enough project engineers
25% couldn’t recruit enough geoscientists

The survey found the main cause of the skills shortage was lack of training of new recruits as record numbers of skilled staff head for retirement. The jobs that are finding it hard to recruit new staff are those with the highest levels of retirement.

“North Sea investment is at record levels and production will help boost the economy but there is one dark cloud on the horizon and it a fast reducing qualified work force,” said Kevin Forbes, CEO of

“It’s one thing having record levels of investment but if you don’t have enough people to do the jobs, then the growth will grind to a halt. As our survey found, the industry specialisms that are most hard to fill are those with an ageing workforce. It’s no surprise that geoscientists and drilling specialists are hard to recruit as these key workers are retiring in large numbers,” he said. 

“The oil industry shed thousands of specialists twenty years ago and now they are waking up to a big retirement headache. Over the next ten years they will have to find 125,000 new staff otherwise there won’t be enough qualified engineers to do the work,” he said.


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