New report tackles skills gap in maritime and oil and gas industries

|Source: Matchtech

A new joint research project on the skills gap facing employers within the maritime and oil and gas industries has been completed by BITC members Matchtech and IMarEST.

The report, authored by Natalie Desty, was researched against the background of a long standing skills gap within the maritime and oil & gas markets. 

Although many businesses have been struggling to recruit qualified engineers for a number of years, Matchtech, the UK's number one engineering recruitment agency, believes that the climate has worsened as market conditions improve.  They collaborated with IMarEST to produce a research study and report to identify actions to address these issues head on.

Partnered with leading maritime institution IMarEST, Matchtech approached industry directly through a roundtable of key industry stakeholders where the issues were discussed, and also conducted an industry survey, which was completed by 500 employers.  Questions covered current recruitment experiences, how the skills gap was affecting confidence within the market, and how this might impact on growth opportunities. 

The results showed a skills gap of a much greater scale than anticipated. 

Some of the highlights of the report include:

  • 90% of businesses within the maritime and oil and gas markets are currently struggling to recruit professional engineers.

  • 93% believe that the sectors are operating within a skills gap market.

  • 91% of businesses believe that the skills gap will adversely affect their business over the next 12 months.

  • Two thirds of businesses within the sector have workforces that are less than 5% female (the engineering average is 8.7%).

  •  71% of businesses believe that graduates are not suitably qualified for work on leaving university.

  •  92% of business view professional development as key to the continued development of their engineers, although only just over half actually provide membership of an institution to their employees.

With 16 key recommendations, the report concludes with a ‘Call to Arms’ for all sections of these industries; professional bodies, the engineering community, the maritime and Offshore Oil & Gas community, university faculties, higher education providers, training providers, the media, and Government.  If your business works within this sector or is affected by the skills shortage, Matchtech would welcome your comments. Join their forum and download a pdf copy of the report.

Publication of the report is only the first stage of Matchtech's involvement in this challenge.  They will now use these findings to approach stakeholders to review the recommendations, and work on an action plan.

IMarEST will be hosting a Skills Group with the Marine Industries Leadership Council where the best ways to address a number of the issues raised in the report will be discussed.  Matchtech will be focusing on initiatives around the themes of ‘Stage not Age’ and ‘Skills Transfer’.  A key aim is to create joined-up thinking within the industry and the wider engineering world to create positive change, and encourage the industry to take on the responsibility of training its own talent to safeguard its own future.