Underwater engineering sector 'to recruit almost 9,000 people'

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Subsea workImage source, Blue Ocean Monitoring
Image caption,
The subsea industry is said to be in calmer waters than in recent years

The UK's underwater engineering sector is set to recruit almost 9,000 people over the next three years, according to a new report.

Industry body Subsea UK said almost 80% of companies expected an upturn in recruitment.

The organisation said employment could rise by 8,928 from more than 45,000 to more than 54,000 by 2022.

The majority of the thousands of predicted jobs are expected to be in the north east of Scotland.

Subsea UK chief executive Neil Gordon said: "The UK subsea industry has weathered the storm."

Mr Gordon described the last five years as having "taken their toll" on subsea companies predominantly operating in oil and gas.

'Greater optimism'

He explained: "The decline has been arrested with a clear upturn in activity, largely due to an increase in output from subsea SMEs (small and medium enterprises) and more activity in renewables, particularly offshore wind.

"The growth projections provided by both the tier one companies and SMEs reveal much greater optimism, due to both the recovery in oil and gas and the opportunities presented by the energy transition."

Image source, Subsea Technologies

The report describes the total value of UK subsea output as having risen to £7.8bn annually.

This represents more than a third of a global market estimated to be worth about £21bn annually.

Market leader

Subsea UK said this showed the country remained the "market leader" in underwater engineering, manufacturing, products and services.

Mr Gordon said: "While oil and gas and renewables remain the largest markets for the UK subsea industry, revenues from other sectors, such as wave and tidal, defence, subsea mining and marine science are on the increase and interest in these, along with the emerging aquaculture sector, is growing.

Image source, Subsea UK
Image caption,
Subsea UK chief executive Neil Gordon expressed optimism about the coming years

"With the largest offshore wind market in the world right on our doorstep, the UK subsea industry must do more to capitalise on the underwater aspects of these developments and use them to showcase our technical excellence to the rest of the world."

The north east of England is also expected to see a considerable increase in recruitment.

The report said India, China and Myanmar were three examples of areas beginning to develop large-scale subsea projects which UK companies could "explore and exploit".

Mr Gordon added: "The subsea industry remains a significant British export success story."

The results of the Business Activity Review for 2018/19 were released in advance of the three-day Subsea Expo conference and exhibition from 11 February at P&J Live in Aberdeen.

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