10,000 jobs bonanza in subsea sector - but North Sea firms struggle to find staff

THE North Sea’s booming subsea sector is set for a massive 10,000 jobs bonanza over the next 12 months.

THE North Sea’s booming subsea sector is set for a massive 10,000 jobs bonanza over the next 12 months.

But a new report by the industry’s trade body Subsea UK has warned that increasing problems in recruiting suitably qualified personnel could stand in the way of the jobs boost target being fully realised.

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Fifty per cent of companies - many based in the North east of Scotland - have reported that finding the staff they need is becoming “very difficult” while 14 per cent of subsea operators have reported that recruiting suitably qualified personnel has became “almost impossible.”

The report was based on a survey of 43 of the 250 companies represented by the trade body. The companies - fewer than a fifth of the total membership - said they expected to create another 2,000 jobs over the next 12 months and are already trying to fill a total of 800 vacancies. An estimated 60 per cent of the vacancies are in the North east of Scotland.

Neil Gordon, the chief executive of Subsea UK, said: “The respondents to the survey represent a cross section of the supply chain so we can assume that if one fifth need 2,000 people, there are potentially 10,000 new jobs across the sector.

“With the UK economy still fairly fragile, it is fantastic that our industry, which is out-performing other sectors and helping lead the country’s economic recovery, is creating so many new jobs. The challenge for us is finding suitably qualified people to meet immediate demand and attracting new people into the industry to fulfil future demand.”

The British subsea industry generates £6billion in revenues each year and already supports around 50,000 jobs. A spokesman for Subsea UK explained: “Over 50 per cent of survey respondents said that recruiting suitably qualified people was very difficult with 14 per cent believing it was almost impossible. Recruiting semi-qualified people is slightly easier but 45 per cent still believe it is difficult.

“Engineers, project managers and technicians are the most sought after positions with ROV (remotely operated vehicle) operators and sales and marketing positions also in demand.”

He added: “Extracting the remaining world’s reserves will increasingly fall to the subsea industry – already almost 45 per cent of UKCS production comes from subsea wells with new developments soon to take this up to 70 per cent.”