ABERDEEN, hard enough to resist abrasion, strong enough to bear significant weight, resilient enough to resist the weather. And that’s just the stone from which much of the Granite City is built. And I know, I lived in Banff for a few years and still have family in the area, an area built very much on farming, fishing and, of course, oil.
Since the discovery of black gold in the North Sea, Scotland’s place as a centre for global excellence in offshore engineering, subsea technology and in the export of offshore goods and services has been secured - an industry that today is worth around £4bn per year.
And now I see new opportunities emerge; opportunities that offer operators, and those within its supply chain, the rapid development of new capabilities. The biggest? Decommissioning – safely plugging the holes in the earth’s surface and disposing of the equipment used in offshore oil production.
As I read OGUK’s 2019 report I was staggered by how huge some of the numbers are. Forecasts that predict £15bn will be spent worldwide on decommissioning over the next 10 years, 43% of which will be in the North Sea basin. So, more and more workers need to be attracted to the sector, some 25,000 is predicted. Many of these will be undertaking roles that don’t currently exist, which I find both exciting and daunting in equal measure. The sector and its people are indeed evolving.
I believe that success will require attracting, recruiting and retaining the right people at all levels within organisations. People who embrace change and are open to innovative ways of working. People who are resilient, proactive and flexible; effective optimisation and management of people’s performance can raise productivity by as much as 25%. However nearly half of organisations in the North-east are finding it difficult to attract staff, with a quarter claiming employment challenges were the result of difficulty recruiting for these new, non-traditional roles.
On average we spend over 2,000 hours at work every year; roughly equivalent to about 80,000 hours during our lifetime. These hours need to be enjoyable, meaningful and fulfilling. Made-so, I believe, through inspirational leadership, through creating a supportive workplace and by committing to continuous improvement. These elements are the bedrock of an organisation made better by, and filled with, happy, healthy people.
If not now, when? As Aberdeen’s landscape and that of its environs change in ways unimaginable, now is the time to take up the challenge, to give employees the tools they need to succeed; to build happy, healthy workforces and to make businesses in the North-east sustainable and profitable. And finally, to ensure the prosperity of this unique and beautiful part of Scotland, so that we progress from ‘jist chavin’ awa’ to all being ‘fair-tricket’.