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Is the UK's Offshore Wind Workforce Growing?

  • Written by Mike Tann
  • 14/12/2022
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As we approached the end of 2021, the offshore wind industry was doing incredibly well.

An estimate was released that the development of farms along the UK’s coastline was supporting over 26,000 jobs up and down the country. 

Just six short months later, this number had already surged to 31,000 (Source: OE Digital). Isn’t that incredible?

A breakdown of the UK’s offshore wind workforce

Of these roles, it’s estimated that around 60% were working directly in the industry itself, with the rest spread over various technical applications and crucial manufacturing positions.

Still, that’s not the end of the good news.

A recently published forecast from the UK’s Offshore Wind Industry Council has estimated that, by 2030, over 97,000 people will be working in the sector - thanks to a mass effort by businesses in the space.

“The number of people working in the U.K. offshore wind industry is expected to surge following an expansion of the pipeline of projects at all stages of development over the past 12 months.” - Offshore Wind Industry Council

The role of UK offshore wind businesses in increasing their workforce

Over the past few years, market-leaders have been taking proactive action to secure an ongoing stream of talent into the offshore wind industry.

Alongside the obvious strategies, like sponsoring job adverts, active and passive social marketing has been through the roof.

Every day, energy companies are creating content that details the joy of working in offshore wind and looking to change the false perceptions that candidates hold.

That’s not all.

To continue to increase the accessibility and ease of transition into positions in the sector, there’s been a country-wide effort to organise extensive on-the-job training schemes and open entry-level positions (Source: GWEC).

Slowly but surely, this is starting to have a positive impact on our previously complex recruitment climates. However, there are still some challenges that need to be overcome.

Supply vs demand: Can the UK workforce provide?

At the end of the day, the UK only has a certain number of workers that are already qualified to work in offshore wind. 

While there certainly does appear to be a surging popularity in entry-level positions, training can (and will) take time. 

To meet current demand, then, we need to look a little further afield.

Even though Brexit has certainly changed the accessibility of local jobs for international talent, there is a 90-day waiver regime that allows temporary contractors to come and support projects (Source: Gov UK).

Once we have an increased access to a consistent and reliable source of skilled and specialist talent, the UK workforce will provide the rest (particularly in the case of manual labour).

Already, companies are continuing to work behind-the-scenes to garner interest in the offshore wind industry.

Key factors persuading talent to join the UK offshore wind industry

Thankfully, marketing and advertising aren’t the only approaches that have generated successful results in the last few months. 

Recently, individuals have started to research jobs in the offshore wind industry of their own accord.

1. Increasing salaries 

In a world where the average cost of living is continuing to rise, the attractive salaries promised by offshore wind are catching lots of attention. Although it’s been a struggle for businesses to fill positions for years, change looks like it’s on the horizon.

2. Referral rewards

We’d all much rather listen to a friend’s suggestion than a stranger’s, right? The same is true for candidates. By offering additional bonuses to loyal staff members that invite other trustworthy connections to work with them, offshore wind’s access to talent is increasing.

3. Expanding benefit portfolio

With the majority of sector businesses now offering additional benefits (like rent subsidies and visa support) in order to compete for the available talent, individuals are slowly becoming more willing to leave their comfort zone. 

4. Employee wellbeing and safety

Further to this, the social movement of the past year has made businesses seriously consider how they can prioritise employee interests. Additional safety measures have been introduced, and quality of life is increasing offshore. 

5. Proximity to home

Although previously available offshore jobs had talent travelling all over the world, the locality of these UK positions means potential talent won’t be in unknown waters. With everything in the country just a few hours away by train, travel is significantly less challenging and holidays can be spent with families,

How to grow the UK’s offshore wind workforce

It’s a relief to hear, isn’t it?

After all you’ve been through over the last few years - trying desperately to fill gaps in your business - it’s nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

You do still need to be clever with your approach to recruitment in 2023, though.

Leaders all over the offshore wind industry have caught onto candidate demands at this stage, meaning everyone is offering similarly high benefits and salaries.

“As the national recovery from the pandemic takes shape and the energy security challenge intensifies, competition for skilled workers is increasing. The shortage is being made worse by competition from major national infrastructure projects.” - Offshore

To stand out from the crowd and onboard quality employees, you need to start expanding your reach and doing everything you can to draw specialist talent in your direction.

Select Offshore’s extensive network is the savvy talent solution you need.

Find offshore employees through Select Offshore

Select Offshore delivers maritime professionals who are reliable, communicative, and enthusiastic. We adhere to tricky deadlines to secure project success through:

  1. Executive Search

  2. Contract Staffing

  3. RPO Solutions 

Our team strongly believes in celebrating each of the individuals we work with, dedicating time to find them desirable offshore placements. 

Is the next one with you? Contact us now

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