Scotland’s oil and gas sector is “probably not top of the list” for young people considering future employment, according to a Scottish energy chief.
David Rennie, head of oil and gas for Scottish Enterprise, said attracting young people to the sector is “a real challenge”.
But he added that the industry must “learn from other sectors” if it is to attract the best and brightest in the talent pool.
He made the comments during his keynote address at the Future Oil and Gas conference held at Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen.
Mr Rennie was discussing the need for the North Sea oil and gas sector to embrace digital technology, adding “there is no alternative”.
He said: “We need to get new people into this sector, especially given some of the wider challenges the sector faces in attracting young people.
“Young people are coming through using the skills that we need, but I think it’s probably fair to say at the moment that oil and gas is probably not top of that list.
“So as an industry, how do we try and influence that? I think that’s a real challenge.”
Mr Rennie’s concerns were echoed by the corporate vice-president of Mexican state-owned oil and gas firm Pemex, Rodrigo Becerra Mizuno, who claimed young people want to “go directly into big tech firms like Google and Facebook”.
Mr Becerra Mizuno claimed the issue of attracting young people to the sector was “a global one”.
Mr Rennie added: “Obviously the shift to a lower carbon economy makes the energy sector more attractive, but there are competing sectors out there.
“A big challenge from oil and gas is how we learn from other sectors.
“This industry has a fascinating mix of world-leading technology, but we also have a tendency to move slowly in some of our culture.
“We have some real challenges to face.”