UK oil and gas sector impacted by skills shortages

Well, it’s official: the skills shortage has become a problem for the oil and gas sector. Or at least that’s what one Scottish chamber of commerce says.

The Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce says that there are many firms in the oil and gas sector that are finding it a struggle to find and keep qualified workers. Almost seven out of every ten operators told the AGCC that there were serious retention and recruitment problems at the moment, and let’s be honest – that’s just another way of saying shedloads of employers are finding good workers a bit thin on the ground.

Around half of those responding to AGCC’s survey said they had watched core staff leave over the course of this year. 50 per cent of those losses were blamed, at least to a small degree, as workers leaved for better paying positions overseas. This is especially troubling because there’s just so many skilled and qualified workers in the UK, and with many of them being umbrella company contractors and freelancers there’s not much employers can do to keep them sticking around besides offering better compensation – and that may very well be beyond the ability of British firms at the moment. Mostly because hey, they don’t have enough staff to ramp up production and increase their profit margin.

The oil and gas industry has already sought to find better solutions, and employers have begun to cast their net a bit more widely by bridging the gap to recruit from other sectors in the UK. Former members of the armed forces have proven to be one particularly positive note amongst all the other struggle, but this isn’t likely to hold the industry for long. In fact, the next logical step – one that would spell disaster for local employment efforts – is to begin outsourcing roles. How successful this will be is anyone’s guess, but I don’t think it will be particularly so, mostly because there are already overseas firms poaching the UK’s best and brightest. How can we compete in a global marketplace if our compensation packages aren’t up to snuff now? I honestly don’t know, but something’s going to have to give. We’re going to end up with either the dregs of the international community or end up watching the sector collapse under its own weight – two extremes that aren’t going to be very fun at all.

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