Number of skilled energy workers is dropping in UK

The United Kingdom's Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) reported this week that the country's energy sector will continue to be faced with the challenge of filling all of its available jobs with skilled workers.

A 2013 survey by the UKCES revealed that 31 percent of companies within the energy sector already struggle to fill their employment vacancies with a skilled worker.

To make matters worse, the total number of jobs is growing and the workforce continues to shrink.

Energy sector jobs in the UK are forecast to expand by more than 15 percent in the next seven years, and more than 30 percent of the current energy workforce is scheduled to reach retirement by 2022. That means that employers must act now to reinvent the industry and attract new talent, the UKCES said.

The report also noted that, although energy sector companies make a strong commitment to recruiting and training, young workers do not view the industry as an attractive career destination, nor are the newest employees willing to invest many years in training when most of them are employed on short-term contracts.

"We are all dependent on the energy sector to fuel our everyday lives,” Lesley Giles, research director at UKCES, said. "It is a growth sector which adds ($37 billion) to the economy each year, but needs to take steps to mitigate the risk presented by skills shortages and a competitive global marketplace.”

To that end, leaders of the energy sector are encouraging full participation in the Energy and Efficiency Industrial Partnership (EEIP), a collaborative effort designed to encourage the development of innovative methods of recruiting and training to ensure that the sector remains relevant and robust in the coming years.

“By working collaboratively, employers within the energy sector can find new and innovative ways to tackle these problems and spread the burden across the entire sector - allowing them to better attract, train and retain skilled workers,” Giles said. “The Energy and Efficiency Industrial Partnership is a useful model for supporting such collaboration.”