Alberta’s oil sands operations to increase workforce by over 70 per cent



Calgary, AB -- Alberta's oil sands, which employed just over 20,000 workers in 2011, is projected to grow its workforce by a staggering 73 per cent by 2021, according to a new report released by the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada (Petroleum HR Council).

The report, Oil Sands Labour Market Outlook to 2021, states that some oil sands operations and occupations are forecasted to add over 100 per cent of their current workforce by 2021.

The Petroleum HR Council's outlook provides oil sands labour demand projections and analysis based on data for 55 core occupations within three facility/operation types: in situ, mining and upgrading.

The outlook 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 required. 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. Increased mining and upgrading activities will also contribute to the sector's employment growth.

'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 labour and skills shortages faced by the sector. In fact, the sector may need to hire 116 per cent of its current employment levels due to industry expansion, retirements and turnover.'

Oil Sands Labour Market Outlook to 2021 also states industry will be challenged to manage workforce costs in this employee-driven labour 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.

Major capital projects for the sector are definitely impacting the future workforce needs for oil sands operations. In addition to labour demand projections and analysis, Oil Sands Labour Market Outlook to 2021 report contains a list of major projects expected to be operational by 2016 that will contribute to the sector's workforce requirements.

Additionally, the report includes summary tables and charts, detailed appendices, executive summary and a concise fact sheet. This study was funded by the Government of Alberta.

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