Aberdeen needs to find 120,000 new workers in the next ten years, if it is to “realise its potential as a global energy capital”, a new report says.
Accountants at PwC came up with the figure – equivalent to the city’s entire workforce today – after studying the staffing needs of £31 billion of scheduled investment and taking into account the need to replace older workers who retire.
Mark Higginson, senior partner at PwC in Aberdeen, said the city needed to open a specialised energy academy in the next two to three years to train its workers of the future.
He said: “The supply of appropriately skilled labour continues to be the greatest threat to Aberdeen’s ability to become a global energy centre of excellence.”
PwC outlined its vision of an energy academy ten months ago, and Higginson said an initial feasibility study had gained “broad support” from industry, academics and the public sector.
PwC found that almost half the oil industry’s workforce in the Granite City is now over 45, and said an injection of fresh talent is needed to guarantee a ready supply of skilled labour over the coming years.
It said the need to replace retiring workers accounts for about 80 per cent of the 120,000 vacancies it forecasts. The accountancy firm said Aberdeen also needs to make more of existing North Sea fields, extending their productive life through incremental developments and technical innovations, and capitalise on opportunities in areas such as West of Shetland to secure a long-term future for the oil and gas industry in the North-east of Scotland.
The figures include the entire Scottish oil and gas industry, which is dominated by companies operating out of the Granite City, and also all the other workers within the city itself, many of whom are engaged in providing services to the industry and its workers.
PwC’s latest report acknowledges that the industry and some of the region’s universities are already taking positive steps to address the emerging talent and recruitment shortfall, while plans to expand the airport and improve the harbour would also make the city more attractive to businesses and skilled workers.
But Higginson said the city has to project the right image to attract people to live and work there. “We must accentuate the good, challenge the negative and celebrate the best of Aberdeen, its people and the dynamic global leadership its industries can offer,” he said. “This is a great city in which to live, do business and invest, but we cannot ignore the challenges.”
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