05/06/19, Cate Nelson-Shaw

Aberdeen city and region: Investing for the future

Aberdeen, hard enough to resist abrasion, strong enough to bear significant weight, resilient enough to resist weathering. And that’s just the stone from which much of the Granite City is built.

Since the discovery of oil in the North Sea, Scotland’s place as a centre for global excellence in offshore engineering, sub-sea technology and in the export of offshore goods and services has been secured - an industry that today is worth around £4bn per year. However, the recent downturn has caused significant shifts and changes - with mergers and acquisitions still going on, many businesses have diversified and widened their reach. New opportunities have arisen as businesses think more creatively about how to operate in this changing landscape and what this means for their people.  

To adapt to their evolving environment, businesses are upping their game to engage and retain employees, which in turn can save money by reducing staffing costs and by increasing employee engagement and productivity.

A recent report by the energy skills body OPITO suggests that within the next 6 years the industry needs to attract 25,000 new recruits, of which 4,500 will be in completely new roles – roles such as data science, automation and new materials. And the seeds of new industries are starting to germinate in response. So for a new wave of startups seeking to benefit from the sustainable hydrocarbon industry there is plenty of support available from initiatives such as the TechX accelerator and incubator and Opportunity North East.

It’s not just the oil and gas sector that is changing. The construction sector remains strong as does the third sector and of course, food and drink, and hospitality not least with the North East 250, a route to rival the North Coast 500.

Willie MacColl, organisational improvement and people development expert says,

“While the last few years have been extremely difficult within the oil and gas sector, and indeed for the wider local economy, the outlook today is more positive for businesses and for their people. However, the labour market and the skills requirements are showing clear signs that things could remain tricky for longer. For those that depend on the success or failure of their employer it is tough; people want security and to know their employer values them."  


Willie continues, “Today many more companies in the sector are realising that more can be done to strengthen leadership and engagement with staff and that this will pay great dividends in the long term. Optimising and managing people’s performance, when undertaken effectively, can raise company output by as much as 25%. 

“Over the past three years, Remarkable has done some great work to support companies in North East Scotland. The opportunity is for companies to do yet more to strengthen and develop their engagement, in an effort to offset and face head on the remaining challenges that still might frustrate the industry”.   

So now more than ever businesses in Aberdeen city and region need to invest in their people of all ages, invest in their leadership and invest in their skills development to attract, recruit, retain and renew people who are engaged, who are undertaking fulfilling and meaningful work and who contribute to the productivity and sustainability of Aberdeen’s future.

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