East Anglia: Energy sector to lead way on jobs

THE oil, gas and renewable energy sector is likely to lead the way in creating new jobs in East Anglia next year, says a new report.

Job opportunities are expected to increase across the sector during the 2012, according to the annual Salary Survey by regional recruitment company Cooper Lomaz.

The study, in its ninth year, covers Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk and focuses on eight major employment sectors, including accountancy, engineering, food manufacturing, human resources, information technology, sales and marketing and the supply chain, as well as energy.

Jane Lovell, co-founder and joint managing director of Cooper Lomaz, which is based in Bury St Edmunds and Norwich, said: “Businesses in the oil, gas and renewable energy sector are paving the way for the many projects planned along our coastline.

“From offshore wind farms and gas production to carbon capture and bio-energy projects, employers will be looking to strengthen their workforce in East Anglia.”

She added: “In particular, there will be demand for engineering skills including mechanical and electrical roles working at offshore wind farms.

“Whilst the Greater Gabbard and Sheringham Shoal wind farms are currently in construction, more wind farms are planned including the East Anglia Array, Docking Shoal and Dogger Bank”.

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The resurgence of oil and gas businesses together with the emergence of offshore wind farms has led to a knock-on effect on other employment sectors including accountancy, the survey says, with pay for financial controllers, finance managers and heads of finance posts having risen in the past year by about 10%.

In engineering, experienced mechanical and electrical designers are in demand, as are candidates with AutoCAD experience and CNC programmers.

The increased price of fuel and raw materials has created challenges in the food manufacturing sector but the market remains upbeat, says the survey, with particular opportunities in meat and prepared foods.

The survey says the high cost of fuel has also had an effect on the supply chain sector, involving areas such as logistics, distribution and warehousing, but there is still demand for high calibre candidates to perform strategic roles.

The survey says there have been fewer human resources roles available in the past 12 months but there has been a significant increase in the number of information technology vacancies, largely as a result of investment in technology to enable growth and drive down future operating costs.

The survey shows high demand for candidates with skills in Java, C++ and C# .Net, with a shortage of Java specialists in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire and of PHP experts in Suffolk and Norfolk.

In sales and marketing, the signs indicate continued growth in 2012 for skilled digital and online marketing personnel, with more companies recruiting agency staff with specific digital expertise including search engine optimisation and pay-per-click advertising, it adds.