Despite much recent press about an aging offshore workforce, particular in developed countries, a new study by the UK Offshore Oil and Gas Industry Association suggests the average age of offshore workers is steadily declining. The “UKCS Workforce Demographics Report” found the average age of offshore workers to be 40.4 with the average age of women working offshore even lower at 35.6 years.
The report highlights a few key points:
The research has demonstrated that much of the concern around our so-called ‘ageing workforce’ has been misplaced, with the average age of an offshore employee not straying above 41.8 years over this time. In fact, the current average age of 40.4 years is the lowest recorded in the series of reports produced thus far.
It’s encouraging to see evidence of not only the youngest recorded average age of offshore workers but more and more young people under the age of 30 taking up important skilled jobs in key areas of the offshore industry.
On a more gloomy note, some of the age shift can be attributed to experienced workers retiring or taking office positions ashore, leaving the vessels and rigs offshore with a less experienced workers.
Significant challenges lie ahead for skill retention in key occupations, particularly with competition for experienced workers forecast to rise due to major construction programmes, such as the London Olympics and offshore wind projects.
Not noted in the report is the recent expansion of offshore fleets worldwide. New steel means new jobs and a dilution of not only age but of experience in the field. This shifting trend may suggest that those remaining offshore into their 50’s and 60’s are working harder to manage less experienced crews.
But, for those out of an academy or trade school and looking to join the industry this is certainly positive news according to Malcolm Webb, CEO of Oil & Gas UK who said: “The overall positive trends highlighted here 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.”
There is no new information on whether or not this trend extends into the wider maritime industry but gCaptain will continue its coverage of the topic as new information emerges.