UK Offshore Workforce to Deliver Low Carbon Energy Ambitions by 2030

The UK offshore energy sector aims to deliver ambitious net-zero targets by 2030 with a significant change to the workforce mix in clean projects.

A review from Robert Gordon University (RGU) has focused attention on the significant changes coming to the UK offshore energy workforce. In the next decade, the offshore energy sector will dedicate 65% of the workforce to clean projects, a large increase from the current 20%.

It has also been underlined that 90% of the UK’s oil and gas job roles have highly transferable skills that position them to be compatible with other energy sectors. This provides the workforce with job security alongside the transitional changes to net-zero.

The review’s lead author, Professor Paul de Leeuw, said:

“With the overall number of jobs in the UK oil and gas industry projected to decline over time, the degree of transferability of jobs to adjacent energy sectors such as offshore wind, carbon capture and storage, hydrogen or other industrial sectors will be key to ensuring the UK retains its world-class skills and capabilities.”

A key finding within the review put around 50% of the projected renewable job roles in 2030 to be filled by employees transferring from oil and gas job roles. This includes new graduates and outside recruitment. However, RGU recommends that the UK government should work closely with the offshore and education sectors to guarantee the transition of skills to secure energy jobs.

Offshore wind is a major component for the UK and its net-zero targets. Within the next 10 years to the 2030 milestone year, over £170 billion will be invested into making opportunities for the energy supply chain.

As of 2021, there are around 160,000 employees within the UK offshore energy sector. To ensure deliverability, the review predicts around 200,000 highly skilled employees will be required within the sector. This will enable the development of future energy projects whilst maintaining current activities.

However, the review also warns us of the impact on jobs if there is a failure to deliver the targets set by the industry and government. With an increasing downwards trend for the oil and gas industry and lower activity levels, the required workforce for offshore energy could drop below 140,000, greatly impacting the economy.

This is why there is pressing urgency for the education sector to step in to achieve targets. Although the oil and gas sector offers widely transferable skills, there is still a requirement for additional skills to deliver the requirements of a new offshore energy structure.

Richard Lochhead, Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work, said:

“The re-deployment and, where necessary, re-training of oil and gas workers will be key to ensuring a just transition over the next decade, and to meeting the labour and skills needs of a growing renewables sector.”

More information is available by speaking to Jason Thackray on 0333 9000 246 or email :