Albertas oil sands industry,
which employed just over 20,000 workers in 2011, is projected to grow its workforce by
73% by 2021, according to a new report released by the
Petroleum Human Resources (HR) Council of Canada.
The report states that some oil
sands operations and occupations are forecasted to add over
100% of their current workforce by 2021. The Petroleum HR
Councils 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.
It 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
Increased mining and upgrading
activities will also contribute to the sectors employment
growth (Fig. 2).
Fig. 2. Albertas oil sands
industry is projected
to grow its workforce by 73% by 2021.
Photo courtesy of Suncor.
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. Going forward, age-related attrition and
competition from other industries will further escalate labor
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 that
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. HP