To gather information on 2019 workforce plans, PetroLMI surveyed 16 oil and gas companies representing over 18,000 workers. Surprisingly, 80% of employers indicated that they were hiring or will be hiring in 2019. With a projected decrease in 2019 industry spending, it is surprising that the top factors driving hiring needs were growth, expansion or increased activity and replacements due to turnover and retirements. Research for the 2019 Labour Market Update indicated that all positions, whether vacated by turnovers or retirements, will be assessed for cost-effectiveness. We anticipate increased scrutiny and position management around hiring decisions while companies control costs and improve productivity. The top workforce challenges for employers are employee engagement and attraction of workers in hard-to-recruit locations.
PetroLMI also surveyed over 2,000 working-age Canadians regarding their attitudes and perceptions of the industry after the oil and gas downturn. Despite uncertain market conditions and lower employment levels, the study indicated that careers in oil and gas still remain attractive and viable to Canadians.
Though the industry’s labour force grew by about 11% from the second quarter of 2017, oil and gas workers continue to be impacted by the downturn. About 40% of employed workers reported that their careers may be at risk due to economic policies, industry volatility and a lack of job security. Interestingly, almost 70% of these workers still intend to stay in the industry for the foreseeable future.
About 45% of respondents indicated the downturn resulted in either fewer contracts and/or business opportunities, an increased workload or reduced hours and/or pay. Also, career plans and job search goals were impacted – 78% of job seekers were looking for work across all industries while 8% were excluding oil and gas from their searches. However, respondents planning to leave the industry have decreased since 2017, from 10% to just over 7%.
Younger workers, aged 17 to 24, still found the industry attractive with 46% of oil and gas workers intending to remain in the industry. As older workers exit the workforce, the industry should continue to create opportunities to maintain the interest of the younger labour supply pool.