National Energy Resources Australia (NERA) has just released a report which has found that each job in Australia’s oil and gas sector is responsible for another 10 roles through the Australian economy.
NERA, which is the Australian Government’s Industry Growth Centre for the oil, gas and energy resources sector, found that the oil and gas industry can expect to face future skill requirements and future workforce challenges in 2030, due to an uptake of automation and technology. The document titled ‘Preparing Australia’s Future Oil and Gas Workforce’ was designed to provide an analysis of the potential trajectory of the oil and gas workforce and what impacts/changes are likely to occur.
The report found that the Australian resource sector remains one of the nation’s highest-value employers with each oil and gas worker creating another 10 jobs across the wider economy, further generating up to five times more indirect employment than an average worker in other industries. It was also found that the oil and gas industry’s ability to respond to future workforce changes remains uncertain and heavily dependent on external factors such as fluctuating oil prices, global supply and demand in addition to government policy changes.
The report highlighted that roles in the industry workforce will continue to change due to greater use of new energy, automation and digitisation across the sector. New jobs are estimated to emerge in the oil and gas industry through artificial intelligence and machine learning specialists, plant decommissioning roles and job opportunities around carbon capture, renewables and other forms of unconventional energy to complement existing oil and gas extraction. NERA has outlined that up to 5 per cent of the direct workforce of 19,000 oil and gas workers across Australia could be employed in jobs related to automation and digitisation by 2030.
NERA’s CEO Miranda Taylor explained that the report was not created to predict the future but instead to be used as an opportunity to test the oil and gas industry’s capacity to prepare for future workforce requirements and maintain its global competitive advantage.
“As part of the Industry Growth Centres Initiative, NERA has a mandate to help the energy resources sector respond to emerging workforce trends and this report is a step towards developing a common expectation about the skills needed by the oil and gas industry by 2030,” she said, “we have seen from the previous period of rapid growth across Australia’s oil and gas industry that sector-wide collaboration to address workforce planning issues is absolutely critical to maintain and increase efficiencies and embrace new technology.”
Ms Taylor further explained that in the future the oil and gas industry is likely to see a greater focus on delivering flexible training along with the addition of micro-credentials that will ensure the industry can adapt to rapidly changing technology.
“Take, for example, the future of instrumentation workers needed to operate and maintain Australia’s LNG and other process plants and to work with data, AI and robotics. This will require skills that are not pure electrical, mechanical or chemical, so it will demand a far more flexible approach to qualifications. To address this need, tertiary institutions such as Curtin University in Western Australia, are now offering new courses such as Mechatronics coupled with Engineering and Computer Science, building future skills into the next generation of workers,” she clarified.
It is imperative that the oil and gas industry remains informed on workforce trends and continues collaboration with education and training providers to ensure they are developing and maintaining an adequate pipeline of appropriately skilled personnel, and in doing so, assists the workforce to embrace opportunities driven by technological and economic change.
“The industry must transform to fully realise the value of the oil and gas sector to the Australian economy and be globally competitive,” Ms Taylor said.
More information on this report can be found here.