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An overview of NES sectors in 2016 and forecasts for 2017

February 15, 2017

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Here at NES Global Talent we recruit across 45 countries and for a broad spectrum of engineering and technical roles. From the oil and gas, power and construction industries to life sciences and manufacturing, there are roles from the UK to as far afield as Australia. The employment landscape is ever-changing and many sectors have seen both significant highs and lows across the last year that are expected to continue to evolve, change and grow during 2017.

So, lets take a look back on 2016 and explore how we think 2017 will shape up:

Power and Energy

Overview of 2016

Last year continued to see the decline of the more traditional methods of power production such as coal alongside the growth of modern alternatives including renewable energy and natural gas. This was made possible, in part, by continuing technological developments such as fracking.

In the USA, for the first time in history, electricity generation from natural gas surpassed generation from coal-fired plants – which, in the UK, are expected to have closed down completely within the next 8 years or so. We also continued to see money being spent on upgrading ageing infrastructure and equipment, as well as new stations with a focus on renewable energy which, due to the addition of these new sources of energy, also led to grid modernisation.

For NES Global Talent, 2016 was a particularly good year for recruitment within the power generation business, which saw us support hundreds of major power projects across all phases of the power project lifecycle to include Operations & Maintenance of plant facilities and equipment.

However, 2016 was also a year of uncertainties and, as a result, a number of construction and maintenance projects were moved to 2017, with many owners and operators in the US region awaiting election results.

Predictions for 2017

The last few years have seen big changes within the energy industry and big targets for reducing carbon emissions ensure that these changes will be ongoing. So, it is likely that the trends of 2016 will continue into 2017 as the power sector continues to transform and improve infrastructure and efficiencies.

In fact we are already seeing an increase in spend for equipment maintenance, upgrades and retrofits.

Global wind power is expected to grow significantly this year, however there will be a global market slowdown for solar energy of about 7% below 2016’s cumulative figures. This should only be temporary and it is expected to get back on its feet in 2018 – followed by steady cumulative growth.

Renewables and natural gas – especially wind and solar - are actually expected to be key players in meeting energy demand growth right up until 2040.

There are major global opportunities right across our businesses to include fossil fuel generation plants in the US, nuclear power in the UK, renewable energy across the US, Middle East and Asia and grid and power infrastructure projects in all locations.

Do you fancy joining the exciting world of renewable energy? We have a wide range of power and energy roles available in various different countries. Click here to find out more and apply.

Oil and Gas

Overview of 2016

Oil and gas recruitment faced a number of challenges over the last year – ultimately it was a year of cost reductions, with the industry seeing a 26% decline in employment in the US alone.

The industry has a history of booms and busts but 2016 was said to be its deepest downturn since the 1990s. Earnings were down, causing companies to decommission rigs and cut investment. The cause of this was the decreased price of oil – which at one point fell more than 70% compared with 2014.

In the Middle East, new project spending dropped by 30% as the region faced a third year of lower oil prices.

However, towards the end of the year the oil price decline tailed off.

Elections results – particularly that in the US - are also likely to reshape this industry, although it may take some time to see exactly what impact this will have.

Predictions for 2017

While 2016 might suggest an uncertain future for the oil and gas industry, things are actually looking up in 2017. Indeed, the two-year downturn may actually be coming to a close and recovery about to begin.

Higher global economic growth of 3.1% is projected in 2017 compared to just 2.9% in 2016. Loss of economic growth in China and India is expected to be compensated by a revival in the Eurozone, Japan, Brazil and USA. In 2017, world oil demand is expected to grow by 1.15 million barrels per day to average 95.56 million barrels per day.

In the US, shale players will start pumping again and some of the major capital projects that were shelved in 2014 will make a return. There should be a slow but steady increase in oil prices, which could close at about $65 towards the end of 2017.

In the Middle East, national oil companies will continue investing to sustain capacity. Producers are looking to maintain spending in order to meet production targets and there is a pipeline of major contracts scheduled to be awarded in 2017, including both small-scale and large projects.

The Petroleum Services Association of Canada even says it is raising its forecast for drilling activity for 2017 in view of rising optimisim in the oil and gas industry.  

However, although there is general optimism that prices will rise to a more sustainable level, the industry isn’t likely to fully recover until at least 2018.

Considering a career within the oil and gas industry? We have a range of roles sitauted across the globe – click here to find out the details and apply.    

Construction

Overview of 2016

2016 was a difficult year for the UK construction industry.

The Office for National Statistics said output dipped 0.7% in the second quarter of 2016, following a drop of 0.3% in the previous three months. And, in June alone, construction output was down by 0.9%.

Public housing was the worst performing sector with a decrease of 10%. Most of this was down to the uncertainty during the run up to and following the EU referendum.

Private commercial, however, was the fastest growing sector in 2016 with an increase of 7%.

Despite a challenging year the UK construction sector ended 2016 well, expanding at the fastest pace for nine months in December.

Globally the industry, which stabilised the year before, saw further output growth this year, with the Middle East and Africa seeing the fastest growth.

China, however, dropped to historic low construction growth, slowing considerably due to the slump in housing and the first ever decline in housing output was registered last year.

Predictions for 2017

Following a recovery towards the end of last year, this sector is expected to grow in 2017, up 4.3% to £142 billion in the UK. Private commercial, which grew in 2016, is expected to increase by a further 7% in 2017.

However, the UK sector does continue to face quite significant cost pressures following last year’s Brexit vote which could make imported goods more expensive.

There is already talk of ‘skills shortages’, although this has been downgraded from a ‘skills crisis.’

2017 is predicted see an inflation in pay rates, but building schemes will not be shelved due to a lack of labour. The rates commanded by self-employed tradesmen have increased 12% in the last three years and a further 3% increase in 2017 is likely.

This year is also likely to see weaker activity in the housing market and a slowdown in office development activity, but retail property will be facing structural changes and industrial looks set to recover.

There will also be a renewed growth in the civil engineering and a strong long-term pipeline of planning submissions but it is expected that the business investment forecast will slow and there will be an overall weakening in construction project starts and outputs.

Meanwhile the Middle East and Africa regions are predicted to overtake Asia-Pacific as the fastest growing in the construction industry.

The global construction sector is expected to grow $8 trillion by 2030 driven by China, US and India - who will account for 57% of all global growth - so 2017 is set to be an exciting year!

Do you want to join this growing industry? We have roles from quantity surveyor to project manager right here in the UK and across the globe in Australia. Click here to find the right role for you and apply today.

Life Sciences

Overview of 2016

The life science sector’s growth correlates with countries’ general economic strength and healthcare spending levels – these varied widely around the globe last year.

While spending did pick up – following a dip the previous year – the pressure to reduce costs, increase efficiency and prove value, remained intense.

Spending growth in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and medical technologies is following an upward trend due to the increase in demand but pricing challenges remained an issue.

Across 2016 there were consistent talent shortages and a real need to develop and retain employees, so competition for talent remained strong.

There was, however, a steady growth in clinical research modalities.

Predictions for 2017

Talent shortages are likely to persist into 2017 and there will be a continued growth for global life science staffing.

Consolidation through mergers and acquisitions will remain a growth strategy for pharmaceutical and biotech firms.

A shifting landscape is expected for 2017 due to managing costs, innovative partnerships, customer engagement and a changing regulatory environment.

However, amid pricing pressures, regulatory changes, emerging innovations and patient-centric models, growth opportunities remain for life sciences companies in the US this year.

A key theme globally will be collaboration –within the healthcare ecosystem, with patients and internally. Many of the pressures life sciences companies are under can be de-risked by creating a platform for information and idea exchange.

The talent shortages mean that now is the perfect time to apply for a role in this industry – click here to see what we currently have available and apply.

Manufacturing

Overview of 2016

2016 was a good year for the manufacturing sector in the UK and activity hit a two and a half year high.

As with other sectors, many areas of the manufacturing industry - particularly nuclear and automotive - were quiet last year due to the uncertainty that came with the Brexit vote and the value of the pound dropping. Many were cautious as they waited to see both the decision and what happened following it. However, the weaker pound did boost orders from overseas, setting the sector up for a good start in the coming year.

Although it has been met by price pressures too, with the weakness of the pound increasing the price of imported goods and leading to higher costs for manufacturers.     

It was a quiet year in the chemicals sector with work on plants being kept to a minimum with only the necessary taking place while they watched their capital spend.

There was, however, a continued emphasis on manufacturing that links to all the major road and infrastructure projects as well as the major process industry new builds such as Hinkley Point C in the UK.

In the food sector there was a steady spend as usual with existing production plants, but not many new major capital investments.

Predictions for 2017

Manufacturing is undergoing one of its most significant periods of disruption as businesses continue to get to grips with the changes brought about by new technologies. But 2017 is set to be a year of landmarks for manufacturers.

All sectors are expected to get busier and improve this year. Money will be spent on safety and upgrading chemical plants, while Hinkley Point C will help the nuclear sector, which is expected to see big improvements this year.

3D printing will become widespread across more industries than ever before – including the automotive, energy, oil and gas.

Machine intelligence and learning will also reduce batch errors to almost zero, which will lead to a reduction in the global cost of production by 10%.

Would you like a change of career within the manufacturing industry?

Now is the time to applyclick here to find your next role.