The world’s booming oil and gas industry has led to steady flow of British workers moving overseas for bigger pay packets – but they could miss out on a jobs bonanza at home.
The warning comes from an oil and gas job recruitment website watching developments in the industry at home and abroad.
Kevin Forbes, managing Oilandgaspeople.com, said: “The UK is a leader in oil and gas technology which means we have a talent pool with lots of skills and experience.
“Because of that, those people are being lured by countries which don’t have the necessary skills on their doorstep.”
He added that around 60% of the world’s gas and oil workers are contractors who ‘follow the money’ for work and that the number of jobs being advertised on the website has soared by 80% in just a year.
Lure of low tax
Increasingly, the UK’s workers are being attracted by highly paid jobs with benefits in a number of countries which are seeing heavy investment in their oil and gas industries, including the US, Brazil and Australia.
He also explained expat workers are also interested in working in sunnier climates and for employers offering better shift patterns of 28 days on, followed by 28 days off.
Lower income tax is also a major factor, said Mr Forbes.
The exodus of highly skilled and experienced workers from the UK’s gas and oil industry comes just as an expected multi-billion-pound investment in the North Sea oilfields is expected to create up to 50,000 new jobs from 2013.
Oil companies are lining up to take advantage of a change to the tax regime made last year in the autumn Budget statement.
The study by Oilandgaspeople.com predicts a massive increase in demand for highly skilled staff for roles in the industry, including engineers and drill crew.
Because of the skills shortage, industry experts are predicting that the average wage for the sector will increase to more than £60,000 a year.
“Too many projects are coming online to mention,” said Forbes. “In the last few months, Stat Oil has announced a £4.3 billion project which will create more than 700 jobs, there’s a £1 billion project to develop the Harris and Barra oilfields and a £1 billion investment by Canada’s Talisman Energy and Chinese firm Sinopec.
“That’s in addition to the huge projects already underway in Shetland by BP and Total, so demand for highly qualified staff is at an all-time high.”
In addition to the North Sea oil boom, oil and gas workers can expect huge opportunities in the UK’s rapidly growing shale gas exploration.