Scottish jobs recovery fuels muted North Sea optimism

Employers are hopeful of increased North Sea work.
Workers guide a pipe to pump gas into underground storage wells located in the depleted Bergermeer reservoir at the Boekelermeer gas storage site, operated by Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (Taqa) and EBN BV, the Dutch state-owned energy company, in Alkmaar, Netherlands. Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

The announcement that Scottish unemployment fell by 1,000 over recent months has sparked muted optimism within the North Sea oil and gas sector.

The news has been particularly encouraging for those aged 16 and above, with a significant proportion of that number reported to be part of the increase.

As the number of people in work in Scotland increased by 7,000 to 2,662,000 over the period between September and November 2017, those in the oil and gas sector are viewing the increase with quiet optimism.

Adam Davey, market intelligence manager at Oil & Gas UK, said: “The recent recovery in the oil price, coming on the back of industry efforts to improve efficiency, has been good news for the oil and gas industry in the UK. The oil and gas industry makes a huge contribution to the success of the economy in Scotland and at a regional level employment figures have shown the first reduction in benefit claimants in Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen since the oil price downturn in 2014.

“Up to £5.5bn worth of new capital projects could be approved this year, the most in any year since 2013. This increased activity is predicted to attract new investment to the UKCS, helping to ensure maximum economic recovery whilst supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs across Scotland and the UK.”

The recent upturn in oil price from $50 a barrel has also seen a renewed confidence in North Sea employers that 2018 will be a markedly improved year in terms of job numbers.

A survey conducted at the end of 2017 by NES Global Talent and found that in total almost 60% of employers expect to recruit significantly over the next 12 months.

Of those, almost a quarter (23%) of employers expect to increase their workforce by 5%, while almost a fifth (19%) expect to increase staffing by between 5 and 10%; and more than a sixth (17%) by more than 10%.

Almost a third (30%) of employers expect staffing levels to remain the same and just 11% of employers expect to further cut jobs.

In total more than 3,000 employers and almost 7,000 workers were surveyed as part of the Oil and Gas Outlook 2017 report.