Petroleum HR Council of Canada

Petroleum HR Council of Canada

July 05, 2012 11:00 ET

Petroleum HR Council of Canada: Oil and Gas Labour Challenges Call for Innovative HR Strategies

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - July 5, 2012) - The lowest natural gas prices in decades and global economic uncertainty have not reduced the growing need for a skilled workforce according to the Petroleum HR Council's survey of 37 petroleum companies representing over 60,000 employees in the upstream and midstream sectors.

The HR Trends and Insights: A Look at Current and Short-Term Workforce Trends within the Canadian Petroleum Industry for Q1-Q2 2012 Report released by the Council, sheds insight on labour market conditions and human resource trends in the upstream and midstream petroleum sectors.

Growth in Alberta's oil sands, shifts to unconventional and liquids-rich gas plays and proposed infrastructure investments in pipelines and liquefied natural gas (LNG) combined with an aging workforce continue to fuel the human capital needs of the petroleum sector. Additionally, competition for similar skill sets and jobs across sectors and geographic regions places additional strain on recruitment and continues to feed an employee-driven labour market.

"Despite global economic uncertainty, a slow recovery in the US, and low gas prices, 91 per cent of respondents reported that they are currently hiring," said Cheryl Knight, Executive Director and CEO of the Council. "This is a seven per cent increase from Q3/Q4 2011 and reflects increased hiring activity in certain petroleum industry sectors, and the direct impact of high turnover, retirements and changing demographics across the industry."

"The majority of respondents indicated that attraction and retention of workers in hard-to-recruit locations is their top workforce challenge. Other challenges identified in the survey were labour and skill shortages, employee turnover and retention, and the increasing level of turnover amongst new hires" she added.

These workforce challenges and trends have increased the need for industry knowledge/experience, specialized skills and general business acumen. Broader support roles such as supply chain management, business intelligence managers, procurement professionals, finance professionals and project managers are in demand.

How is the industry rising to these workforce challenges? According to the survey, respondents reported two key human resource strategies: recruitment and training. The report includes details on recruitment and training practices, emerging trends and innovative human resource strategies such as:

  • Partnering with community programs that target under-represented groups in the petroleum industry (women, Aboriginal peoples, immigrants, youth).
  • Training programs that help employees move into leadership roles, and respond to industry growth, new technologies, and evolving environmental and regulatory requirements.

The full report is now available for purchase on the Council's website ( The survey report identifies in-demand jobs and locations, company recruitment strategies and activities, and other innovative workforce strategies for the petroleum industry. This study is funded by the Government of Canada's Sector Council Program.

The Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada is the primary resource to address workforce development and labour market issues in the Canadian petroleum industry.

Contact Information

  • For information on labour market products and services:
    Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada
    Tara Prudhomme
    Project Manager and Sales
    403-516-8120 or Toll-free: 1-866-537-1230

    For media inquiries:
    Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada
    Rowena Sampang
    Manager, Marketing and Communications