Alberta's oil sands industry, which employed just over
20,000 workers in 2011, is projected to grow its workforce by a
staggering 73% by 2021, according to a new report released
Friday by the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada
(Petroleum HR Council).
The report, Oil Sands Labour Market Outlook to
2021, states that some oil sands operations and
occupations are forecasted to add over 100% of their current
workforce by 2021.
The Petroleum HR Council's outlook provides oil sands labor
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
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, the report says.
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," said Cheryl Knight, CEO
of the Petroleum HR Council.
"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, she continued.
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% of its current employment levels due to industry expansion, retirements and losing
people to other industries."
The report also states industry will be challenged to manage
workforce costs in this employee-driven labor 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, the reports authors say.
The study was funded by the Government of Alberta. For more
details and figures, the full report is available by clicking