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Wind energy winners in picking up oil & gas talent

Wed, 13 Jan 2016

Offshore wind could be the main beneficiary in picking up talent exiting the UK’s oil & gas industry, recruiters say.

Oil & gas giant BP yesterday announced it was to cut around 600 staff and agency contractor roles from its North Sea operations as part of a 4,000 job cuts globally.

In a statement yesterday, a day when the oil price collapsed to less than $30 a barrel (£20.70), the group attributed the move to “toughening market conditions”. 

But the loss for oil & gas could be offshore wind’s gain, according to energy staffing specialists.

Lawrence Rose, head of energy contracts at Phaidon International, told Recruiter the offshore wind sector is benefiting from a candidate surplus, with cross sector skills like offshore cabling and foundation work still very much in demand. This is set to increase this year, he added.

Tessa Hull, specialist wind energy consultant at global oil & energy recruiter Worldwide Recruitment Solutions, agreed, and pointed to the construction of offshore wind farm projects set to start in the second half of this year. 

These projects, she added, required a lot of people with cable and offshore construction experience.

While some offshore wind companies will ask for specific health & safety training certificates for operating in the offshore wind sector, Hull says the actual skills required for the projects are transferable from oil & gas.

“Cable is cable regardless of where the power is being generated, whether it’s from wind or something else, so you should be able to transfer your skills across,” she said.

In a separate announcement, recruiter Spencer Ogden provided details on how it has successfully diversified from oil & gas in the past year.

In a statement it said in Q1 last year, as the price of oil began to plummet, it cut operating costs and upstream oil & gas capability to focus on contract revenue.

As a result, at the company’s year-end its oil & gas division represented just 35% of fee revenue, down from 72% in 2014.

This diversification programme was supported by the launch of complementing engineering and infrastructure divisions, including rail, construction and automotive, the statement added.

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