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Energy jobs - reap the rewards

Eliot Davies, Director of Hays Energy, reports on the energy jobs market.

As the world prepares its economies for the move to a more carbon neutral future to combat climate change and provide energy security, it is likely that the energy sector will grow rapidly and provide career opportunities with it.

In the UK we expect the nuclear sector to start to flourish this year, but not all employment opportunities will come from ‘new’ technologies; decommissioning will continue to be in high demand as will those candidates with retro-fit experience.

Engineering skills demand for energy jobs

We are presently seeing a great deal of demand for engineers with design, project delivery, budgetary and commercial and health and safety skills.

Demand is also strong for: engineers in the traditional, nuclear and renewable power generation sectors as we seek to plug the impending ‘energy gap’; engineers in the networks sector, to upgrade the UK’s transmission and distribution network; and engineers working in the water and gas utilities sector.

There are skills shortages in geologist and geophysicist specialist areas as employers look for new, harder to extract oil and gas fields. The steadily decreasing pool of new entrants to the labour market means there is a decline in scientific, engineering and technical (set) skills as other industries compete for these skills. While several companies have grown in terms of personnel, many have found that key skills are in short supply.

The more specialist the candidate, the more in demand they are and the higher the salary they can command. The industry can also be an ideal choice for those people working in related industries, such as mining, building services and civil & structural engineering and manufacturing. Often they possess transferable skills, but they must be prepared for an element of retraining to learn specialist technical skills appropriate to the energy sectors.

Many companies offer support to staff to obtaining post-graduate qualifications. For example, Robert Gordon University offers energy and oil- and gas specific courses, including an MBA in oil and gas management and asset integrity management. While this obviously limits their earning potential in the short- to medium-term, it should prepare them for greater rewards and job security in the future.