Canada’s oil and gas industry will need to fill at least 9,500 jobs by 2015

(News release from Petroleum HR Council) – Canada's 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 hiring needs.

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 industry-specific roles.

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 new entrants."

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 pipeline). 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 Alberta's Oil and Gas Labour Market Outlook to 2015, a companion product, is available for free to those who purchase the Canada-wide outlook.