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UK offshore energy workforce could grow by half by 2030

Offshore windmill

The UK's offshore energy sector could see a major workforce expansion of up to 50 percent by the close of this decade.

A recent report from Robert Gordon University says it’d surged from approximately 150,000 to 225,000 jobs. 

This potential growth hinges on the successful transition to renewable energy sources.

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It could lead to renewable positions outnumbering those in the oil and gas industry.

However, the report “Powering up the Workforce” also provides a warning.

It says if the UK fails to bolster investment and engagement in renewables while the oil and gas sector experiences a swift decline, as many as 95,000 jobs in the offshore energy sector could be in jeopardy. 

The report says the offshore oil and gas supply chain, its workforce, and skillset over the next five years are integral to the industry’s future.

When the shift to renewables is managed judiciously, the oil and gas workforce could decrease from 120,000 to 87,000 by 2030. 

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Researchers say if the decline in the oil and gas sector accelerates due to reduced investments and operational activities, this figure could plummet to about 60,000 by 2030.

Analysis conducted by the research team pinpoints a crucial window of opportunity between 2024 and 2028.

The UK's supply chain capacity and capabilities can be maintained, developed, and invested during this period.

Professor Paul de Leeuw, director of the Robert Gordon University Energy Transition Institute, said: “This report presents a range of workforce outcomes that could materialise over the coming years.

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"Huge prize up for grabs"

“There is a huge prize up for grabs and we want to equip decision-makers – whether in government, industry or in individual businesses – with new insight to convert those opportunities into reality.

“With investment at risk and wind projects facing delays, the findings underline the present-day situation for the UK offshore energy industry and its stakeholders.

“The big prize of a significant jobs gain is still within our collective reach.

“Inaction or simply slow progress will mean that offshore energy job numbers overall could drop by 15% to 130,000 by 2030, making the path towards net zero even harder to negotiate.”

The report garnered praise from the trade association Offshore Energies UK (OEUK). 

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