PetroLMI conducts survey on impacts of COVID-19 on Canada’s Energy Workforce

Today the PetroLMI Division of Energy Safety Canada (PetroLMI) released Part 1 of The Impact of COVID-19 on Canada’s Energy Workforce: A four-part series on work practices, productivity and opportunities. The series provides insight on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting work practices and productivity across different oil and gas industry sectors, and what changes to previous work practices employees anticipate as companies continue to adapt to public health restrictions. The series was funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program and will be released in four parts over the next two weeks.

PetroLMI surveyed more than 300 employed and unemployed energy workers across Canada in August and September. The survey collected data on areas such as how industry work practices changed as employers responded to the public health restrictions; what skills workers believe are more in demand; how they feel about returning to work; and whether they’re seeking training or other employment opportunities.

PetroLMI also interviewed 13 key leaders from energy companies in September and October 2020 to canvass their perspectives on the same topics. The series includes key takeaways based on the survey and interview results.

This series benefits both workers and employers in helping them to understand how the dual impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing industry downturn has been affecting the workforce and employment.

Carol Howes, Vice President of Communications and PetroLMI, Energy Safety Canada

Part 1: Labour Cost Reductions and Productivity, focuses on the labour cost reductions implemented by companies and how industry work practices and worker productivity changed in response to the onset of public health restrictions. Some of the findings include:

  • While nearly four in 10 energy workers said their company implemented permanent layoffs, many companies were seeking alternatives to layoffs. For employers, negotiating reduced wages, hours, benefits and/or bonuses were some of the methods used to retain employees — especially those with unique skills, training or certifications.

  • Before the pandemic, 13% of energy workers worked from home at least one day per week, with eight per cent reporting they worked from home five or more days per week. That quickly changed once public health restrictions were put in place in March 2020. Initially, 70% of energy workers were forced to work remotely at least one day per week, 57% of whom worked from home five or more days per week.

  • Eighty-five per cent of the energy workers surveyed believed they were as productive or more productive working from home than in their usual workplace. And managers tended to agree — roughly seven in 10 managers said their teams were as productive or more productive working from home.

The following are other parts of the series:

  • Part 2: Return to Work which explores how workers feel about returning to work and what actions employers can take to address workers’ concerns and ensure their safety.
  • Part 3: Opportunities, Challenges, Skills and Training examines which skills and training workers believe are in demand. It also looks at whether energy workers are seeking employment in a different sub-sector of the energy industry or other industries.
  • Part 4: Impact on Unemployed and Temporarily Laid Off Workers which focuses on unemployed and temporarily laid off (furloughed) energy workers. It explores the job search and training activities workers have been engaged in, including potential plans should they not be called back to work or able to find other work.

PetroLMI will offer two webinars to review key learnings from the series:

  • Friday, November 20 at 1:30 p.m. (MDT) – Discussion of Parts 1 & 2
    Register here.
  • Friday, November 27 at 11 a.m. (MDT) – Discussion of Parts 3 & 4
    Register here.

The Petroleum Labour Market Information (PetroLMI) Division of Energy Safety Canada is a leading resource for labour market information and trends in Canada’s energy industry. PetroLMI specializes in providing oil and gas labour market data and insights, as well as resources for workforce and career planning. 

For media inquiries: 
Stephanie Thomas
Email: [email protected]     
Phone: 403.516.8119

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