Booming investment to see more vacancies, higher wages in 2013: analysis

The “unprecedented growth” in investment being made in the UK industry could see the sector create between 40,000 and 50,000 new jobs this year, a new recruitment analysis has predicted.

Booming development rates in the UK as well as the potential addition of shale gas exploration are both boosting vacancy levels, according to the study by jobs website

The recruiters also pointed to the record 27 licensing round seeing 167 new licences awarded in October, as well as positive tax changes hiking investment levels.

“Investment is at record-breaking levels with more than £40 million ($64.5 million) expected to be invested in North Sea oil in the next three years,” the report said.

Citing recent large-scale investments such as Statoil’s Mariner, Talisman Energy’sMonArb and Dana Petroleum’s Harris and Barra, chief executive Kevin Forbes said “there are too many new projects to mention and from our own industry knowledge we expect more big announcements in 2013”.

“An increase in demand for engineers and drill crew as well as those who work in the service sector that supports the industry will see a major increase in need for qualified staff,” the report found.

“Likewise it is expected that there will be a rise in the need for qualified and experienced geoscientists and exploration engineers,” it added.

However, the industry risks becoming a victim of its own success as a lack of qualified candidates to fill posts in the UK is only set to intensify with the high rate of job creation, according to the study.

“With increased investment in North Sea oil, demand for qualified staff is set to reach an all-time high, which will exacerbate an already serious skills shortage,” commented Forbes.

Salaries in the sector – already double the national average at an average of £64,000 ($103,000) per year – are only set to further increase amid the recruitment squeeze, adding to project costs for explorers.

Forbes said the sector has also to compete with high investment being seen in the sector in countries like the US, Brazil, Australia and Canada that is prompting some UK candidates to “head abroad to earn even higher wages with a huge demand for qualified expats globally”.