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Editorial comment

In my December 2012 Editor’s Comment, I discussed the ‘hot topic’ of the ‘global oil and gas skills shortage’. So far in 2013, that topic is still a hot one.

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At the end of March, an ‘Oil and Gas Sector Strategy’ to secure billions of pounds of future investment and thousands of oil and gas jobs was announced by the UK government. Part of the strategy is to address the skills shortage of  mid-level career engineers. The government has stated that it will aim to work with industry to establish a national programme to retrain ex-military personnel in order to smooth the progress of their redeployment into the oil and gas industry. Over the years, I’ve noticed that many of the successful engineers and senior managers I’ve come into contact with in the O&G space are ex-military personnel, and it is certainly often the case that ex-military candidates possess certain attributes that ensure they are a good fit for a career in the global O&G industry. The government has also recently introduced ‘The Shortage Occupation List’, which outlines 20 new job categories that are to be exempt from the usual strict immigration rules. While not essentially tackling the global skills shortage per se, this move means that oil and gas companies operating in the North Sea will be able to cut through an inordinate amount of red tape and hire workers from outside Europe; allowing companies to more easily fill critical positions.