Energy Careers

Assess Your Career Change

Transitioning Your Skills

There are opportunities to change your career, but it’s important to know how to get there. This resource provides insight into how your oil and natural gas skills may transfer to other careers within the energy industry. While opportunities to change careers may exist, it’s important to know which ones are within reach, and which will require some additional work. We’ve defined three transferability pathways – direct, refocus and reboot.

Direct

Essentially the same core qualifications, technical knowledge, skills and work environment with a high likelihood of recruitment and retention in the sector.

Refocus

Similar work but some skill or knowledge upgrading is likely required to increase the chance of a successful transition.

Reboot

The work is very different; there is a need to invest significant effort to qualify for a position.

Explore Career Transferability

Select from a list of oil and natural gas careers to view its transferability to other sectors where the occupation is employed and identify skills match and skills gaps between oil and natural gas and the emerging energy sectors.

Don’t see your occupation listed? Check out our Explore Careers resource to review additional career opportunities within Canada’s energy sector, understand the salary and work environment, and the levels of education and skills required for each role.

Please select a field of work
Please select an occupation

The top five frequently asked questions about career transitions in the energy industry

Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions we receive from energy workers transferring to new sectors.

Renewables, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and hydrogen sectors are anticipated to grow based on projects currently proposed or under development. Growth is also anticipated because of industry activity, government funding and policy incentives, and industry investment in cleantech – including emissions reduction and carbon capture utilization and storage.

Renewables

With its large landmass and diversified geography, Canada has substantial renewable resources, like wind, solar and geothermal, that can be used to produce energy.

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

LNG serves markets for natural gas when pipeline access is not feasible. The development of an LNG sector represents a significant opportunity for Canada’s energy industry, including the ability tap into new, international markets for its surplus production and sustainably meet the growing global demand for natural gas, sustainably. Five LNG projects on Canada’s West and East Coasts are under construction. Development of an LNG industry in Canada is expected to create or sustain 10,000 direct or indirect jobs nationally. 

Hydrogen

Canada ranks in the top 10 global hydrogen producers with about three million tonnes of hydrogen produced annually for industrial use — approximately 4% of the global total. Both federal and provincial levels of government have announced strategies, including fiscal incentives, to spur the development of a hydrogen economy in Canada, estimated to have a $1 billion potential.

Petrochemicals and refining, cleantech and LNG facility operation sectors, as well as the geothermal sub-sector, are all relatively easy to transition into based on use of the similar skill sets and/or equipment.

Petrochemicals and refining

The petrochemicals sub-sector currently accounts for over 10,000 jobs across Alberta. And while Alberta is currently the Western Canada petrochemicals hub, projects are also being considered in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Petrochemical plants and refineries have a similar work environment to oil and natural gas facilities. The biggest difference is the size – the equipment is usually much larger.

Cleantech

Canada is a leader in cleantech development, with more than $1 billion of the total $1.4 billion invested each year by Canadian companies coming from the oil and natural gas industry.  Workers’ knowledge of oil and natural gas processes offers a big advantage to the cleantech sector. Familiarity with equipment and processes – and the ideas to make them better – often come from experienced oil and natural gas workers.

Geothermal energy

Development of a Canadian geothermal industry could create more than 5,000 new jobs for displaced oil and natural gas drilling contractors and oilfield service workers, as many of the occupations are transferable. Geothermal development is similar in process to oil and natural gas development. Some skill and knowledge upgrading is needed for workers to familiarize themselves with differences in the resource recovery methods used.

LNG facility operation

Many of the occupations, skills and qualifications required for the day-to-day operations of liquefaction facilities are similar to other oil and natural gas processing operations – including those in natural gas processing, in situ oil sands, upgrading and refining – making transferability from those operations relatively easier. 

Employers are assessing a worker’s level of comfort with a more digital environment – as well as advanced cognitive skills like complex problem solving and ‘soft skills’ for managing people and negotiating.

As companies across Canada’s energy sector turn to new technologies, digitize their operations, work towards lowering carbon emissions and continue to scale up or down to meet changing market dynamics, expectations of workers are changing. Workers who adapt to changing trends and become more digital- and data-driven will be ahead of the game. Similarly, ‘soft skills’ like people management, coordinating with others, negotiating and listening are increasingly important. Cognitive skills like complex problem solving and critical thinking will be valued, too.

While energy companies build environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics, they are also creating, measuring, monitoring and reporting these metrics to various stakeholders, including regulators. Potential roles include those dealing with environment, safety, community/stakeholder and Indigenous relations, regulatory and government affairs, and sustainability.

The level of transferability between sectors takes three criteria into account: technical transferability, nature of work transferability and employee value proposition.

Read the descriptions of each area below to help you rate your transferability to other sectors as high, medium or low. Workers looking to make a career change between sectors are likely to have greater success if there is a medium-to-high rate of transferability across all three criteria. To help make this assessment, review job postings and descriptions for qualifications, and network with employers and employees in targeted sectors.

Technical transferability

This refers to similarities related to the use of equipment and technology, technical knowledge and certifications required, regulatory environment, etc.

Nature of work transferability

This refers to similarities in work arrangements, culture, environments, etc.

Employee value proposition

This is the likelihood of a worker accepting an employment offer based on considerations such as work location, compensation, benefits and career development opportunities, among others.

Consider consulting with a career advisor to further explore the level of transferability between sectors, assess your skill set, and determine the path to transition for your career change.

An assessment of transferability between occupations looks at:

  • core qualifications
  • certifications
  • technical knowledge
  • skills
  • business processes
  • regulatory requirements
  • work environment
  • customers/stakeholders involved
  • workplace culture and environment

The assessment identifies the ease of  transferability as one of three types: a direct transition, a refocus, or a reboot. 

Direct

Essentially the same core qualifications, technical knowledge, skills and work environment with a high likelihood of recruitment and retention in the sector.

Refocus

Similar core qualifications, technical knowledge, skills and work environment but some skill and/or knowledge upgrading is likely required to increase the chance of a successful transition.

Reboot

The core qualifications, technical knowledge, skills and work environment are very different there is a need to invest significant effort to qualify for a position.

Day in the Life

Richard Bucher

With more than 30 years of experience in the world of career transitions as a successful author, coach, speaker and the “Get a Job Guy” on CBC Calgary’s Eyeopener, Richard Bucher knows a thing or two about moving to a new career. Learn about his tips and advice on how to make a career change.

Read Richard's Story

It’s inconceivable that these incredible people have only one function that’s suited to them in this life.