A report published by the Oil and Gas UK on the UK’s offshore workforce demographics for 2009 shows the average age of offshore workers is 40.4 years, the lowest since the group began compiling this data in 2006. The age of offshore workers ranged between 18 and 65.
The fact that the average age has remained around the low 40s since 2006 indicates that there is a steady stream of younger workers joining the industry, according to the report. It was found that they are replacing the workers lost either to retirement or attrition, and that an aging workforce in the UKCS is not currently a cause for concern. “I think we can now put the myth to bed that the North Sea and wider UKCS has an aging workforce,” said Oil & Gas UK’s health, safety and employment issues director Robert Paterson.
According to the report, there are also more people traveling offshore to work than at any other time in the past four years. The total number of personnel that journeyed offshore UKCS in 2009 was 51,116, a 1% rise from 2008 numbers and the highest recorded since 2006.
It was found that younger workers are taking up positions in key areas. There has been an increase in 18- to 23-year-olds and 24- to 29-year-olds working as deck crew, drilling, electrical, management, production, rigging and scaffolding.
The total number of core workers – those who spend more than 100 nights a year offshore – has increased significantly, up 13.4% from the previous year. In terms of nationality, 84.9% of traveling offshore workers are native to the UK. There has also been a marginal increase in the number of women traveling to work offshore. The report found that 1,898 women traveled offshore in 2009, representing the largest number of women offshore since the report was initiated. The average age of women offshore is 35.6 years.
“It is exciting to see more people working offshore than in previous years – something which clearly shows that the UK oil and gas industry is buoyant. The North Sea may be a ‘mature basin,’ but anyone who thinks that operations are winding up and coming to an end is mistaken,” Mr Paterson said. “The overall positive trends highlighted (in the report) illustrate the good work being done by the industry to attract and retain young, highly skilled workers and demonstrate the excellent career prospects that it has to offer.”