Petroleum industry facing severe labor shortages

Canada’s oil and gas industry is headed towards severe and chronic labor shortages - regardless of future energy prices and industry activity.

CALGARY /CNW/ – Canada’s oil and gas industry is headed towards severe and chronic labor shortages – regardless of future energy prices and industry activity.

“There’s no way around it, Canada’s petroleum industry will struggle to find the workers it needs over the next 10 years,” says Cheryl Knight, executive director and CEO of the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada. “Not only will we need to replace thousands of our most skilled and experienced workers but prepare for future growth as well.”

In 2011, the first baby boomers reach 65 and mark the beginning of a trend where more workers leave than enter the workforce. According to the Council’s latest long-term labor market report, The Decade Ahead: Labor Market Projections and Analysis for Canada’s Oil and Gas Industry to 2020, that means over 30 per cent of the industry’s core workforce are expected to retire within the next decade, driving the need to hire at least 39,000 workers. If the industry expands due to industry activity, a staggering 130,000 workers will be needed to fill new positions and keep pace with retirements.

For industry, the surging need for more workers is badly timed. “We are going into a perfect storm,” says Knight. “Just when the industry needs workers the most, Canada’s labor supply will be dwindling as the overall population ages. Our industry will need to be prepared to face a labor shortage more severe than in 2007.”

Some oil and gas companies are already coping with chronic shortages for certain occupations and shortages are expected in all core occupations as early as 2013.

The industry will be hiring at every education and skill level, and new technologies in unconventional gas and oil and in-situ oil sands extraction will increase demand and create a need for jobs like water and environment management technicians and specialists, hydraulic fracturing (or fraccing) operators and steam engineers.

 

The Decade Ahead provides up-to-date labor market information for Canada’s petroleum industry. For more information on The Decade Ahead, 2010-2020, visit the Council’s website at www.petrohrsc.ca.