The number of young people working on Britain's offshore oil and gas installations is rising, according to statistics released on 6 October by the industry trade association Oil & Gas UK.
The 2011 Workforce Demographics Report shows a rising trend over the past five years in the overall number of people aged under 30 travelling to offshore installations in UK waters.
Their presence is helping to rejuvenate the offshore population which many still wrongly believe is ageing. The average age for an offshore worker is 41 years, which is normal for a workforce aged between 20 and 60 and is also consistent with Oil & Gas UK's findings in previous years.
However, the report also highlights a net loss of people in the age range of 30-60 years. Workers in this age range tend to relocate to other oil and gas regions around the world or return to onshore roles. Their departure leaves vacancies which must be filled by suitably skilled and experienced candidates, with demand often outstripping supply and raising concerns about a possible future shortage of supervisors.
Commenting on the latest findings, Malcolm Webb, Chief Executive of Oil & Gas UK said: "Oil & Gas UK believes it is important to understand the demographic profile of the offshore workforce to allow the industry to plan ahead and ensure it will have access to the skilled personnel it needs to support its activities in the years to come.
"I am delighted to see the rising trend in young people working in the offshore environment. This points to the success of the industry's technician training schemes and graduate programmes.
"However, the loss of experienced workers is of concern and fast-track development programmes are now in place to address ongoing skills shortages in certain occupations."
The report's key findings include:
- The average age of those travelling offshore is 41 years old.
- The average age of female workers remains at 35.6 for the second year running. The number of women travelling offshore fell slightly from 1,895 to 1,833.
- Considerable increase in the number of under 30s travelling offshore since 2006 and a drop in the number of 30 to 60 year-olds.
- 49,960 people travelled offshore last year; with nearly 21,896 of them 'core' workers (100+ nights offshore). Both these figures are only down slightly from 51,116 and 22,209 respectively the previous year (which saw the highest numbers of people travelling offshore since Oil & Gas UK began compiling these figures).
Data in the report is for the 2010 calendar year and was compiled using the Vantage POB (Personnel On Board) system, which holds information on every individual's journey offshore.
Download a copy of the Oil & Gas UK 2011 Workforce Demographics Report.