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Northern Ireland

Approximately 3% of the energy and utilities sector UK workforce is located in Northern Ireland (13,900 people). In terms of gender makeup 17% of Northern Ireland’s energy and utilities workforce is female, as compared to an average of 24% across the sector.

Around 99% of the energy and utilities sector workforce is White/British/Irish, which is a reflection of the Northern Ireland population as a whole. Northern Ireland’s energy and utilities workforce is slightly older than the UK average, despite that fact that the entire Northern Ireland workforce is slightly younger than the UK average.

The recycling, refuse and sanitation industry has over half its workforce possessing no qualifications. This is significantly higher than the other nations and may be indicative of a lack of local training provision. The power industry has the highest percentage of its workforce with Level 4 and above qualifications.

Key facts for the power industry:

  • There are around 2,000 people in 55 businesses in the power industry.
  • Over the past 20 years the power workforce in Northern Ireland has decreased by 68%.
  • The occupations which have been most affected by these reductions are Secretarial (Levels 2 & 3), Skilled Technical (Level 3), Plant and Machine Operatives (Level 2) and Elementary (Level 1 and below).
  • 16% of the power industry’s workforce is female (11% below the UK average for the power industry).
  • Women represent 66% of the workforce within the administrative and secretarial occupations.
  • The age profile of Northern Ireland’s power industry workforce is somewhat older than nation’s workforce as a whole, with an under-representation of 16-24 year-olds and an over-representation of 35-44 year-olds.

Key facts for the gas upstream industry:

  • There are around 1,400 people in 500 businesses in gas upstream industry.
  • The gas (upstream) workforce has reduced by 55% over the last 20 years period. The most affected occupations have been Secretarial (Levels 2 & 3), Skilled Technical (Level 3), Plant and Machine Operatives and Elementary (Level 1 and below).
  • 17% of the gas (upstream) industry’s workforce is female (10% below the UK average for the gas industry).
  • Women dominate administrative and secretarial roles (63%), but represent less than 1% of skilled trades, 15% of professionals and 19% of managers.
  • The age profile of Northern Ireland’s gas (upstream) industry workforce is very similar to that of the nation’s workforce as a whole.

Key Facts for the waste management industry:

  • There are around 4000 people employed in 245 waste management businesses in Northern Ireland.
  • Research has found that there is anticipated expansion of the waste management industry.
  • Recycling has increased by 91% over the past two decades, albeit from a low base. Waste disposal employment levels have increased by 134% in the same period.
  • 15% of the waste management industry’s workforce is female (4% below the UK average for the waste management industry).
  • As in other industries, there are particular concentrations of women in administrative and secretarial roles (74%).
  • Almost one-in-three professionals and associate professionals are female, which is relatively high.
  • The age profile of Northern Ireland’s waste management industry workforce is considerably older than the national average, with a significant under representation of young people in the industry.

Key facts for the water industry:

  • There are around 6000 people employed in 30 water businesses in Northern Ireland.
  • The water industry’s workforce has reduced by 39% since 1986. The occupations which have been most affected by these reductions are Admin and Secretarial (Levels 2 & 3), Skilled Technical (Level 3), Plant and Machine Operatives (Level 2) and Elementary (Level 1 and below).
  • 17% of the water industry’s workforce is female (9% below the UK average for the water industry).
  • The age profile of Northern Ireland’s water industry workforce is considerably older than the national average, with a significant under representation of young people in the industry.

Source: Energy & Utility Skills, Sector Skills Agreement Stage 1 2006, Northern Ireland Skills Monitoring Survey 2002 and Energy & Utility Skills Sector Skills Agreement Stages 1-3 Final Report 2007 – Northern Ireland