Calgary AB, May 30, 2012
oil and gas industry will need to fill a minimum of 9,500 jobs by
2015, according to a report released today by the Petroleum Human
Resources Council of Canada.
Highlights from the report, Canada's Oil and Gas Labour
Market Outlook to 2015, state that between now and 2015,
Canada's oil and gas industry is at risk of losing about three per
cent of its workforce overall, because of persistently low natural
gas prices. However, two primary factors - growth in certain
operations and age-related attrition across the industry - will
offset most job losses and in fact contribute to increased overall
Changes in the number of jobs will not be
equal across all industry sectors. For example, the oil and gas
services sector, although impacted by commodity price volatility,
will still need to fill about 5,400 jobs between 2012 and 2015. The
exploration and production (E&P) sector, hardest hit by
prolonged low natural gas prices, may see some workforce
contraction but will also experience skill and experience gaps as
it loses workers due to retirements and turnover, especially for
By 2015, employment in the oil sands sector is projected to
increase by 29 per cent over 2011 levels, or approximately 5,850
jobs. The pipeline sector will add about 530 jobs over the same
period. Both sectors will also need to do significant hiring to
replace retiring workers and for turnover.
"This is a complex labour story," commented Cheryl Knight,
Executive Director and CEO of the Petroleum HR Council. "Hiring
will increase, but total number of jobs will remain relatively
flat. Certain sectors and operations will add jobs, while others
will lose some positions. And employee turnover is the wild card
that could have recruiters working to fill hundreds of additional
job openings over the next four years."
Knight continued: "At a more granular level, we're seeing high
demand for - and reduced supply of - skilled workers in specific
occupations, many of which are unique to the oil and gas industry.
Retirements are the greatest cause of this growing - and alarming
-skill and experience gap. The technical capabilities and knowledge
of retiring, experienced workers are just not easily replaced by
Funded in part by Government of Canada's Sector Council Program
and the Province of Alberta. Canada's Oil and Gas Labour Market
Outlook to 2015 includes labour demand projections for 38 core
occupations in Canada's oil and gas industry, within four industry
sectors (E&P, oil sands, oil and gas services and
Analysis is also provided for key operating regions in Western
Canada (British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan) as well as for
the rest of Canada. The report is now available for purchase at www.petrohrsc.ca. Alberta's Oil and Gas
Labour Market Outlook to 2015, a companion product, is
available for free to those who purchase the Canada-wide
The Petroleum HR Council's outlook
provides oil sands labour demand projections and analysis based on
data for 55 core occupations within three facility/operation types:
in situ, mining and upgrading.
The outlook describes how technological
changes, as well as shifts in the regulatory and business
environments, are impacting how the oil sands sector does business
and what types of workers are required.
For example, employment within in situ operations will
experience the greatest growth, driving a number of emerging
occupations and an increased reliance on the oil and gas support
services workforce. Increased mining and upgrading activities will
also contribute to the sector's employment growth.
"The oil sands sector entered 2012 with a healthy dose of
optimism, with all indicators - notably stable oil prices and
strong international investment - pointing to continued expansion,"
explained Cheryl Knight.
"Demand for more workers is being driven primarily by growth in
the sector, however our research tells us that the supply of
skilled workers remains very tight. Going forward, age-related
attrition and competition from other industries will further
escalate labour and skills shortages faced by the sector. In fact,
the sector may need to hire 116 per cent of its current employment
levels due to industry expansion, retirements and turnover."
Oil Sands Labour Market Outlook to 2021 also
states industry will be challenged to manage workforce costs in
this employee-driven labour market. The oil sands sector will have
to give considerable thought to effective and efficient strategies
to work with the construction, maintenance and oil and gas support
services sectors, which are critical to the growth and
sustainability of oil sands operations.
A number of business, regulatory, social and other trends are
leading to significant structural changes within Canada's petroleum
Highlights from the Petroleum HR Council
Report Canada's Oil and Gas Labour Market
Outlook to 2015 include the following:
- Technology is and will remain industry's game changer by
unlocking untapped oil and gas resources.
- As natural gas prices stay low, Canadian petroleum companies
have shifted to more oil and liquids-rich plays.
- Access to new markets in general, and the Asia-Pacific market
in particular, is paramount.
- Strong commodity prices only lead to profitability and
sustainability when cost-management remains a priority. Industry
will be challenged to manage workforce costs in an employee-driven
- The social license to operate has never been more difficult for
the Canadian petroleum industry to obtain.
The business trends identified above are driving some important
labour trends in the Canadian oil and gas industry, including:
- The competition for natural resource workers is global.
Demographics are putting an additional strain on industry's
Industry volatility and uncertainty, along with domestic and
global competition from other resource sectors, will continue to
hinder the Canadian petroleum industry's ability to attract
- Many of the occupations unique to the oil and gas industry will
experience the greatest skills shortages.
- Environmental policy and regulations will drive the need for
Major capital projects for the sector are definitely impacting
the future workforce needs for oil sands operations.
Additionally, the report includes summary tables and charts,
detailed appendices, executive summary and a concise fact sheet.
This study was funded by the Government of Alberta.