A new UK Offshore Energy Workforce Transferability Review by Robert Gordon University (RGU) highlights that the offshore energy workforce mix will change significantly in the next 10 years, with roles in decarbonised energies forecast to increase from 20 to 65 per cent of all jobs in the offshore energy sector (oil and gas, offshore wind, carbon capture utilisation and storage and hydrogen).
The Review indicates that over 90 per cent of the UK’s oil and gas workforce have medium to high skills transferability and are well-positioned to work in adjacent energy sectors.
The opportunities for the UK energy supply chain and for jobs are significant. It is estimated that over £170 billion will be invested in capital and operating activities in the UK offshore energy sector over the next 10 years.
The Review shows that around 200,000 skilled people are expected to be required in the UK offshore energy industry to ensure delivery in 2030. However, it also highlights the consequences of not delivering the ambitions set by governments and industry and the associated impact on jobs.
The Review calls for the UK and the devolved governments to work together with the offshore energy industry and further and higher education sector to ensure the managed transition of skills and experience in a way that protects and sustains key UK energy jobs.
Key findings of the Review are:
Workforce skill transferability
- Around 80 per cent of the jobs in 2030 are envisaged to be in nine key job families: Operations, Technicians, Engineering, Projects, Commercial/Business Development/Marketing, Procurement/Supply chain management, Finance, HR and HSE;
- Soft skills and other non-technical skills are generally highly transferable to adjacent energy sectors;
- Around 100,000 (approximately 50 per cent) of the jobs in 2030 are projected to be filled by people transferring from existing oil and gas jobs to offshore renewable roles, new graduates and new recruitment from outside the existing UK offshore energy sector; and
- With the increased energy system localisation and the emergence of integrated regional energy clusters, it is projected that the offshore energy workforce will become increasingly regionalised.
- Around 200,000 people are likely to be required in 2030 to underpin the developing offshore wind, hydrogen, carbon capture and storage as well as the vital ongoing oil and gas activities in the UK offshore energy sector. This compares to around 160,000 people directly and indirectly employed in the UK offshore energy sector in 2021.
- The offshore energy workforce mix is expected to change with over 65 per cent of the workforce by 2030 projected to support low carbon energy activities.
- Of the approximately 200,000 people projected to be directly and indirectly employed in the UK offshore energy sector by 2030, approximately 90,000 (or 45 per cent) are expected to support offshore wind, approximately 70,000 (or 35 per cent) oil and gas, and approximately 40,000 (or 20 per cent) other offshore-related energy projects and clusters.
Action and delivery is key
The prize of delivering the targets identified for offshore wind, oil and gas, hydrogen and CCUS by 2030 are material for the UK offshore energy workforce.
The Review indicates that the impact of a reduced ambition, combined with lower activity level and accelerated decline in the oil and gas industry could reduce the offshore energy workforce requirements to fewer than 140,000 jobs by 2030.
It is key that the UK and devolved governments work together with the offshore energy sector to ensure the managed transition of skills and experience in a way that protects and sustains key UK energy jobs. The Review also identifies the significant role the Higher Education sector can play to upskill and reskill the offshore energy workforce.
UK Energy Minister, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, welcomed the release of the Review.
“We have a world-leading offshore energy sector in Scotland and across the UK with a proven mix of critical skills, which are essential to the success of the energy industry,” the Minister said.
“Through our leading North Sea Transition Deal, we set out how we will make certain we have an energy skills base in the UK that is fit for the future, while our Green Jobs Taskforce will advise on how we can create the broader skilled workforce to deliver net-zero by 2050.”
“The Review rightly recognises the need to support the skills transition. The UK Government is committed to working with all relevant agencies in a way that develops the full potential of the energy industry.”