PetroLMI kicks off 2018 with new project, Canada’s Changing Oil and Gas Workforce: Labour Market Information and Insights

Three years after oil prices began to plummet and overall expansion of the oil and gas sector halted, the labour market is still adjusting. While unemployment rates have declined in recent months, much of it has to do with workers leaving the oil and gas industry for different opportunities. The recent stabilization of oil prices has created some optimism, but, continued uncertainty about the economic and market challenges, combined with regulatory, environmental and geopolitical forces are limiting new investment prospects.

Oil and gas companies and service providers that support them have adjusted to operate in a lower oil price market, including investing in new technologies and processes to improve their productivity and create efficiencies. This transformation has had a significant impact on workforce requirements, as well as patterns of recruitment and training.

At the same time, recruitment challenges are already emerging, particularly in the services sector, even with recovery happening at a modest pace. Recruiting new workers is proving to be more difficult, in part, because perceptions of employment stability and career longevity in the industry have deteriorated. Yet, replacement demand is only expected to rise in the coming years as baby boomers begin to retire.

All this is to say that dependable short and longer-term labour market information is as important as ever, given the current degree of uncertainty.

PetroLMI is pleased to announce the beginning of a three-year project, funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program (SIP). Through this project, we will work with all of our stakeholders to develop and disseminate timely labour market information and resources for Canada’s oil and gas industry.

These reports will provide data and insights to industry, governments, education and training agencies, job seekers, working Canadians and supporting organizations to inform their decision-making, career planning and/or workforce strategy development. We also aim to address labour market imbalances, today and tomorrow, by researching and communicating industry’s hiring needs and shifting skill requirements to career planners and job seekers, including workers impacted by the recent downturn and under-represented groups.

PetroLMI has established a national advisory committee to provide guidance and feedback on what research and tools members believe will provide the most value to industry and to help assess and prioritize PetroLMI’s activities. Over the next three years, PetroLMI has committed to undertake enhancements to our labour market forecasting model. The model will be adjusted to incorporate employment and demographic data from the 2016 Census as well as employer surveys, and to update industry sector and occupational definitions with the latest National Occupation Classification (NOC) and North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). We also intend to incorporate the impacts of the changing emphasis on productivity and technologies and innovation on occupational requirements. PetroLMI will continue to publish our quarterly labour market statistics, our employer surveys and labour supply studies.

We also plan to undertake six research reports on workforce trends. The topic of many of these reports will be identified and prioritized by the national advisory committee, which holds its first meeting in March. We recognize the need to identify the changing occupation and skill requirements due to innovation, technology and regulation changes and also to assess the industry’s attractiveness to new workers for the years ahead and to better understand the impacts of the downturn on attitudes within the labour force.

Over the course of the next three years we hope to increase the use of labour market information and strategies across the industry, and provide the tools and services that are needed to better inform workforce planning, career planning and job seeking.

Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.

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