Over the next four years, Canada’s oil sands companies are expected to require another 6,650 workers in oil sands construction, maintenance and operations as projects that are currently under construction move into production. While the construction workforce is expected to contract as those expansion projects come to an end, workers currently in oil sands construction may be able to transfer into maintenance jobs. The skills for industrial construction and for maintenance work overlap and allow for transferability and mobility between the two. Occupations that support these maintenance activities such as carpenters, millwrights and iron workers will be the most in demand.
Employment in oil sands operations over the next four years is expected to increase to 2014 levels (the height of industry activity). Occupations that support mining production, such as heavy equipment operators, heavy-duty equipment mechanics and process operators, are projected to grow. In situ operations will also see its workforce increase, with power engineers in particular demand.
Companies with upgrading operations, meanwhile, are expected to shrink their workforces, but many of these employees also have skills that are transferable into mining and in situ operations. Overall, companies may be challenged to fill a number of managerial, supervisory and engineering roles as skilled and experienced workers retire.
The table below provides an overview of some of the occupations with particularly high risk factors for recruitment over the next four years. That’s because the occupation could grow faster than the sector average; it could have a greater than average eligibility for retirement; and/or it may have significant hiring needs. If you’re interested in more detail on oil sands employment and hiring requirements, see the Oil Sands Labour Demand Outlook to 2020 Update.
|Occupations employed in oil sands||Growing faster than sector average||Greater than average eligibility for retirement||Ranked in the top 15 for hiring needs to 2020|
|Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications occupations||●||●||●|
|Contractors and supervisors, heavy equipment operator crews||●|
|Contractors and supervisors, machining, metal forming, shaping and erecting trades and related occupations||●||●|
|Contractors and supervisors, mechanic trades||●||●||●|
|Contractors and supervisors, pipefitting trades||●|
|Facility operation and maintenance managers||●||●||●|
|Heavy equipment operators (except crane)||●||●|
|Managers in natural resources production||●||●||●|
|Metallurgical and materials engineers||●|
|Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators||●||●|
|Power engineers and power systems operators||●|
|Power system electricians||●|
|Water and waste treatment plant operators||●||●|