Targeting talent effectively … Subsea UK’s cool toolkit

Neil Gordon
Neil Gordon, chief executive of Subsea UK

Subsea UK has developed a “toolkit” to help companies grow their own talent as the industry faces a massive shortfall of people and it will be one of the highlights of Subsea Expo here in Aberdeen (February 5-7).

Subsea Target is the most innovative approach to recruitment and people development that Energy has ever seen. It is very easy to navigate and use and is to be applauded.

We will be exploring this fun and interactive approach to attracting talent in our forthcoming Young Energy supplement, which will be published on March 10. It even provides a template for the curious to write their own CV in the current style.

The trade body latest estimate is that this £8.9billion industry needs to hire 16,000 or so more switched-on people if the sector is to hit its £11billion annual target and increase the UK’s 45% share of the estimated £20billion global market for 2014.

The “toolkit”, which has been developed with companies in response to real issues they face is part of Subsea UK’s highly focused workforce development programme.

Subsea Target aims to help subsea companies accelerate the pace at which they can find, develop and deploy people with the relevant skills or potential as well as providing advice and guidance to individuals trying to get into this burgeoning sub-set of the offshore oil and gas industry.

SSUK CEO Neil Gordon reports that 15 companies, large and small within the subsea supply chain, have already signed up to the scheme and are working to develop a successful programme for the recruitment and retention of competent staff, including a focus on those with transferable skills.

“Not a day goes by when we don’t hear about the acute shortage of skills in oil and gas. The subsea sector is already showing signs of being constrained by this,” says Gordon.

“If we carry on trying to solve the skills issues using the current solutions, we will not achieve growth. That’s why our approach is different.

“Continuing to poach from a talent pool which is drying up is no longer viable. Companies have to consider hiring people in from different places than they did in the past.

“People with relevant or transferable skills but with no knowledge of the subsea sector, no prior experience within a business and a gap in their ability to do the job required is a major obstacle.

“We aim to help firms develop the additional support and infrastructure required to cross people over effectively so that they become fully functional in a subsea role as quickly as possible.”

Instead of the focus on sourcing and attracting people and helping them transfer into or secure a job in the sector, Subsea UK is working with individual companies to get them ready to take on more people. This is very different to the traditional approach.

“With many companies it is not simply about finding people but more about how they recruit, how they keep people and how they equip them with the skills they need to do the job,” says Gordon.

Subsea Target is Subsea UK’s own initiative and it has attracted seed funding from Skills Development Scotland Energy Skills Challenge Fund. It is now an integral part of Subsea UK’s ongoing Skills and Workforce Development strategy.