Report dispels myth of aging UK workforce

Offshore personnel on the UK continental shelf are getting younger, according to industry association Oil & Gas UK.

Offshore staff

LONDON -- Offshore personnel on the UK continental shelf are getting younger, according to industry association Oil & Gas UK.

Its latest report on offshore demographics for 2009 found that the average age of UK offshore workers was 40.4 years, the lowest since the association started compiling this data in 2006.

The survey also noted 51,116 individuals traveling offshore to work, a 1% rise on the total for 2008, while numbers of “core” workers (those spending over 100 nights/yr offshore) increased by 13.4% on the previous year.

Oil & Gas UK found evidence of much younger staff taking up positions in key areas. There have been increases, for example, in numbers of 18 to 23 year olds and 24 to 29 year olds among deck crew, and in drilling, electrical, management, production, rigging, and scaffolding posts.

There was also a slight increase in the number of women traveling to work offshore the UK - 1,898 women - with 30% employed in catering. The average age of female offshore staff is 35.6 years.

As for nationality, 84.9% of those offshore were native to the UK.

Oil & Gas UK’s health, safety, and employment issues director, Robert Paterson, said: “I think we can now put the myth to bed that the North Sea and wider UKCS has an aging workforce.

“Not only that, but it’s exciting to see more people working offshore than in previous years – something which clearly shows that the UK oil and gas industry is buoyant. The North Sea may be a ‘mature basin’, but anyone who thinks that operations are winding up and coming to an end is mistaken.

“That said, we still must continue to attract the next generation of young, skilled, and talented individuals into working in this industry. This will be a significant challenge when there are other career opportunities in large-scale construction projects such as wind farms and the London Olympics.”

To this end, he said, Oil & Gas UK would collaborate with UK training organization OPITO to retain and develop skilled workers.

11/04/2010

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