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The Oil and Gas industry’s response to the fall in oil prices has seen a significant scaling back of capital expenditure and a major reduction in headcount. Projects are being cancelled or postponed and it has been estimated that over 250,000 jobs have been lost. While work continues on several existing projects, contract workers and the supply chain are being squeezed to make savings through seeking discounts of ten to fifteen percent on their current rates.
With oil prices expected to remain depressed further pressure on investments are expected in what is now predicted to be a longer-term downside. Several factors are driving down oil prices but the main issue is oversupply given the economic slowdown in China and emerging markets. This is compounded by a change in philosophy by OPEC nations, who are reluctant to give up market share, and are maintaining high production levels.
With significant growth forecast in other UK infrastructure sectors and a predicted talent shortfall, Oil & Gas construction professionals and engineers could help to fill the skills gap. But which sectors will provide the best employment opportunities?
THE ENERGY SECTOR
The Energy sector represents over 60% of the UK’s Infrastructure pipeline and will need a substantial increase in skilled professionals to design, construct and operate the projects across the UK, (you can learn more about the UK infrastructure pipeline and the employment opportunities in this blog).
Within the Energy sector Electricity Generation has the potential to provide the highest growth in jobs driven by the need to replace the UK’s ageing energy infrastructure with a more diverse low-carbon energy mix.
While the major trend is towards renewable generation, in the medium term gas is seen as having a key role in assisting the transition away from coal and being used as a back-up for intermittent renewable energy sources. The Government support for fracking has the potential to bring up to 4,000 wells into production with an investment of £33bn over 15 years creating 6,000 direct roles at peak.
NUCLEAR NEW BUILD
The existing nuclear fleet is coming to the end of its asset life with the majority of the nuclear generating capacity forecast to cease operation over the next 15 years. The nuclear new build programme has 5 identified projects to replace this capacity with plans to develop 16GW on existing sites at Hinkley Point, Sizewell, Wylfa, Oldbury and Moorside, with the potential for 3 more.
THE HINKLEY POINT C PROJECT
Hinkley Point C, the first of the proposed UK nuclear energy plants is scheduled to become one of Europe’s largest construction projects with a construction cost in the order of £18 billion. Hinkley C will generate an estimated 5,600 construction jobs at peak, equating to 25,000 individual job opportunities over the 7 to 10 year construction period, and once built an operational workforce of 900 during its 60-year operation. Hinkley Point C will be capable of producing 7% of the UK’s electricity, enough for five million homes. The project is expected to commence in 2016.
IS NUCLEAR A GOOD CHOICE FOR OIL AND GAS PROFESSIONALS?
The Energy and Nuclear sectors are expected to provide some of the best career opportunities in the coming decade. With no nuclear plants having been built in the UK for over 20 years, the industry will need to attract and reskill a new generation of engineering and construction professionals. A significant proportion of job seekers will be new to the Nuclear Industry. Nuclear employers recognise that there is a good cultural fit with suitably qualified candidates coming from regulated industries, such as oil and gas, defence and other energy / water utilities.
The factors expected to attract candidates include:
1. Nuclear new build provides an excellent career opportunity, there is an element of prestige working on some of Europe’s largest projects that will be seen as a standard of excellence within the industry and be viewed favourably by future employers.
2. Nuclear new build provides employment stability with typical construction durations between 7 and 10 years, a stated intent to retain employees during the construction phase, if necessary through retraining, and the potential of moving into the operations and maintenance teams. The pipeline of nuclear projects is expected to roll out over a 10 year timeline.
3. Nuclear new build will potentially attract good rates of pay. The increased demand and projected skills shortage created by the projects may increase the rates of pay for candidates that meet the hiring criteria.
A GUIDE TO HELP YOU GET A JOB IN NUCLEAR
Nuclear is understandably different due to the potentially significant impacts of any error that occurs, its unique technology, culture, regulation and the nuclear terminology used.
Are you familiar with the term Nuclear Safety Culture, do you understand the differences between the types of nuclear reactor or which body is responsible for nuclear regulation? To successfully secure a job in nuclear it will be beneficial to have a good understanding of these differences and how the industry works.
A2O People’s nuclear team have answered these questions in our e-book which you can access on the following link "Understanding the Nuclear Industry - A Guide for Job Seekers”.
A2O People – Experts in Recruitment
A2O People are a specialist Recruiter in the Nuclear, Energy, Water & Construction sectors.
If you are interested in exploring job opportunities on the Hinkley Point C project or in the Nuclear, Energy, Water or Construction sectors you can submit your CV.
We are happy to offer a referral scheme that can help good causes or earn a reward for the referrer, if you know other people who would be interested you can Refer a Colleague or Friend.
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