New research commissioned by Offshore Energies UK (OEUK), the leading trade body for the UK’s integrated offshore energy industry, has revealed that young people are actively seeking careers that have a positive impact on society, with more than half of those surveyed saying they would consider a career in the UK’s energy sector.
The survey of 1,000 secondary school pupils (aged 11-18) and 1,000 university students looked to discover what young people today want out of their future career. It found that young people are eager to make a positive contribution to the world, with 29% seeking a job that has a positive impact on society, 23% on future generations and 21% on the environment.
Two thirds (67%) of the young people surveyed said that making a positive impact on the world and society was important to them in their future careers.
When asked about industries they would consider working in, more than half (54%) of those surveyed said they would consider a career in energy – and when looking at how they view the sector, the most popular opinion (31%) was that the industry is better than it used to be in terms of addressing climate issues. Over a fifth (22%) also acknowledged that we still need oil and gas, but believed the industry had a role to play in developing new lower carbon technologies.
Dr Alix Thom, workforce engagement and skills manager at Offshore Energies UK, said: “These results reflect what we are seeing across the industry as people’s priorities continue to shift post-pandemic. It is fantastic to see that so many young people we surveyed would consider a career in energy, and that they recognise the role industry will play in the development of new lower carbon technologies.
“The industry is at a crucial point as it looks to attract and retain the talent required to achieve the UK’s ambitious climate goals, while continuing to harness skills which will deliver the resources needed to ensure we can meet our energy needs. Attracting new talent to the sector is vital to ensuring the industry can meet its full potential, so we are thrilled that so many young people see energy as a viable career choice. It is our hope that as companies grow and develop new technologies, more and more young people will be drawn to the sector to ensure it thrives, which will support the UK economy as it continues to lead the drive to net zero while producing home grown energy with fewer emissions.”
The research also showed that when considering next steps, the events of the last few years have been a key factor in influencing the career interests and aspirations of young people. Over a quarter (28%) say the cost-of-living crisis has caused them to rethink their future career. A total of 15% say the pandemic has caused them to change course, and 13% say the climate crisis has had an impact on what they want to do with their professional lives.
Alix added: “There are so many factors people consider when choosing their career path, and with young people across the UK just recently receiving their exam results, many of them are making big decisions on subject options and further and higher education courses. What this research has shown is that the UK’s energy sector continues to be an attractive option for those who are looking to have a meaningful and rewarding career.
“This is vital if we are to project security of energy supply long term and continue to position the UK as a leader in the energy transition and pioneer of new technologies. As a society we need both oil and gas, and investment in renewables, as we carefully manage the transition to net zero and ensure we don’t compromise our country’s energy security.”