​Modest Canadian oil and gas job recovery expected to begin this year: PetroLMI

More than 17,000 new workers will be needed in Canada’s oil and gas industry from 2017 to 2021, according PetroLMI's new Labour Market Outlook, under its “Modest Recovery” scenario.

This assumes oil prices stabilize “well above” US$50/bbl through 2017 and beyond.

The Enform division also modelled a “Delayed Recovery” scenario, which assumes that oil prices retreat “well below” US$50/bbl. In this case, the industry is expected to shed additional jobs in 2017 and overall employment growth will slow to about 6,700 new jobs over the five-year forecast.

So far though, the year has gotten off to a good start, “with activity and hiring picking up, particularly in the services sector,” Enform vice-president Carol Howes said in a statement.

“In fact, some of these companies are already experiencing a shortage of skilled workers with substantially more drilling rigs operating as compared to this time last year. If oil prices remain stable and more favourable market conditions persist, a modest five-year job recovery will begin in 2017.”

Based on production and investment projections for both of the report’s scenarios, an estimated annual average of 510,000 to 550,000 direct and indirect jobs will be supported by Canada’s oil and gas industry between 2017 and 2021.

Indirect employment growth will be geographically widespread because the industry sources goods and services from across Canada.

“A shrinking labour pool and a shortage of skilled workers is a concern, especially if renewed hiring is delayed another year to 2018,” Howes said.

“As a result of the downturn, many displaced workers are looking to find jobs in other industries, and, there are fewer new entrants, including graduates choosing to pursue a career in oil and gas.”

While PetroLMI's “Modest Recovery” is encouraging, it's still overshadowed by the 52,000 direct oil and gas jobs that were lost between 2015 and 2016.

At the end of 2016, the oil and gas industry employed an estimated 174,000 direct workers, 25 per cent fewer than the industry peak of over 226,000 in 2014.

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