Oil & Gas

Youngsters agree North Sea has future – but men still dominate the demographic

Opito managing director John McDonald

Youngsters living in the UK’s energy focused cities still believe there are future career prospects in the North Sea – but males still dominate the demographic.

More than 500 students from Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Great Yarmouth, Waveney and Norwich were asked their opinion in a study by industry skills organisation OPITO.

More than 80 per cent of those who took part said they are still interested in pursuing a career in the sector – despite current difficulties facing industry chiefs.

But more men were interested in an oil and gas career path than women – with the figures standing at 80 per cent male to 20 per cent female.

The top three reasons given for wanting to pursue a career in oil and gas were the opportunity to travel, the salaries offered and the opportunity to be at the cutting edge of science and technology.

A total of 77 per cent of respondents said they consider there to be longevity in the UK Continental Shelf.

The 18 per cent who disagreed with this view cited a lack of confidence in long term resources, competition from more attractive basins and increased sustainability in alternative energy sectors, namely renewables.

John McDonald, managing director of OPITO UK and member of the Scottish Government’s energy jobs taskforce, welcomed the findings, but said the report also shows where improvements could be made.

He said: “The high salaries associated with oil and gas have often been cited as a primary attraction in the past so it is refreshing to see other factors coming to the fore,.

“Whilst there is much of positive note to take from this report, it is clear that we do need to continue to find ways of attracting women into the sector.

“Estimates around the proportion of female employees in the oil and gas workforce generally average around 20 per cent and attendance by female students at industry events is even lower which tells us there is a significant pot of untapped talent out there.”

Earlier this week a North Sea boss expressed fears that the younger generations had lost faith in the energy industry.

To find out why, click here.

Read the latest opinion pieces from our Energy Voice columnists