Energy services companies in Western Canada have plans to hire, but labour and skills shortages are hampering their efforts

Nearly 90% of survey respondents expect to be hiring for energy drilling, service rig and other energy services activities in 2021, according to a survey of Canadian Association of Energy Contractors (CAOEC) members conducted by PetroLMI. The survey found that across 20 companies surveyed about their workforce plans, they were hiring for 1,350 new roles.  

Hiring is being driven primarily by increased activity and replacement of workers due to turnover. Canada’s energy services companies are experiencing labour shortages for specific occupations or in certain areas; they have shortages in skilled and experienced workers; and are having difficulty attracting and retaining workers in certain locations in Western Canada. 

PetroLMI conducted the survey between June 17 and June 23, 2021, to better understand hiring plans and hiring trends. The 20 companies represent a workforce of approximately 3,900 across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

As the energy industry heads into a busier fall and winter season, companies surveyed said they are experiencing a variety of issues recruiting workers, including a lack of qualified applicants, specifically workers who are physically fit, can pass a pre-employment drug screen, have a valid driver’s license as well as valid tickets and certificates.  In addition, some companies reported they are experiencing increased competition for workers from within the oil and gas industry. Three-quarters of the companies reported that previous oil and gas workers are no longer available.

The companies said they are having difficulty in finding field workers and labourers such as rig hands, derrickhands,  floorhands and motorhands, as well as operators such as drillers, rig operators and rig managers. Most of the companies are looking for full-time employees (94%). 

As a result, the respondents are increasing their recruitment efforts (88%), promoting their company’s safe work environment (81%), and altering their compensation and benefits packages (63%) in an effort to attract workers. 

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To learn more or to find a job in the services sector Explore Careers, view Job Listings, or attend PetroLMI’s virtual career fair NextWork on September, 28, 2021, which is a free one-day virtual job fair to connect hiring employers with job seekers. 

Top Future Workforce Skills

Looking ahead over the next two years, respondents said they expect to focus on upskilling and training their workers as well as issues such as work-life balance. Whether through hiring or upskilling their existing workforce, leadership skills, collaboration and teamwork skills, and continuous learning and growth mindset skills, will be top focus, they said. 

Top Future Workforce Skills
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