Petroleum HR Council of Canada

Petroleum HR Council of Canada

May 23, 2013 13:00 ET

Petroleum HR Council of Canada: Steady Growth in Prairie Oil Pushes Innovative Workforce Practices

Petroleum HR Council Encourages Bakken Oil Players to Work Together

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - May 23, 2013) - The ongoing development of the Bakken oil field in Saskatchewan and Manitoba is requiring companies to apply a range of best practices to the challenges of workforce recruitment and retention, according to a report released today by the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada. The report, HR Trends and Insights: Workforce Conditions in Canada's Bakken Oil Play, outlines how Bakken investment and production has experienced overall steady growth, describes workforce conditions in the region, and acknowledges a number of progressive HR practices by industry.

"While labour shortages have eased from the high levels experienced to 2011, oil and gas companies continue to operate in a competitive labour market environment in the region, facing critical challenges for attraction and retention of workers," said Cheryl Knight, Executive Director of the Council.

"Coordinated action taken by industry, government and labour supply stakeholders can ease these challenges by continuing to implement best practices for attracting, retaining and developing the workforce, as well as introducing strategies to lower barriers leading to recruitment success," said Knight.

"Bakken is now a major source of Canada's oil production," said Knight, "with estimates of recoverable oil in the billions of barrels." In 2011, approximately 37 per cent of all crude oil production in Canada originated in Saskatchewan and Manitoba where the Bakken field is the highest producer, compared to 39 per cent from Alberta.

"The result is that Bakken is now a significant site for oil and gas employment," said Knight. In 2012 after several years of double-digit growth, 6,200 oil and gas workers were based in southeastern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba.

"More workers are needed," said Knight. HR managers for the Bakken region anticipate steady to moderate growth in Bakken-related employment. Occupations in-demand include power engineers (steam ticketed), engineers, geologists, technicians, well-drilling and completions staff, hydraulic fracturing workers, and office staff.

"Further growth can only be achieved through effective workforce practices," said Knight. "First, it's a hard-to-recruit location. Second, turnover and retention are concerns with real competition from other industries requiring similar skills. And third, there are shortages of skilled workers in specific occupations. On top of this, many skilled workers are reaching retirement age," she said.

"Companies are taking innovative steps towards positioning the industry as an employer of choice and they should be congratulated," said Knight. For example, companies are offering competitive compensation and perks, using multiple recruiting channels, developing internal programs which position themselves as preferred employers, offering clear advancement options and pathways, and forming partnerships to work with Aboriginal peoples, youth and immigrants.

The report also offers recommendations for consideration by industry, government and education. These range from promoting the lifestyle and community offerings of the region, to regional training programs which would be beneficial, and mitigation of inter-provincial tax differences.

"We hope this report helps present the changing national dynamics of Canada's growing oil and gas industry," said Knight. Our goal is to help both industry and Canadians understand and respond to workforce needs across the country," she said.

Effective April 1st, 2013, the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada became part of Enform Canada. The Council is the primary resource to address workforce development and labour market issues in the Canadian petroleum industry. Funding in part by Government of Canada and the Saskatchewan Ministry of the Economy.

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