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Canadian Oil & Gas Sector Increasing Wages To Attract More Workers

The Canadian oil and gas industry is recovering after stumbling through nearly seven years of dropping oil prices. Then, the industry saw an economic downturn, a recession, and a pandemic that caused the demand to dry up. It also led to widespread layoffs and employees switching industries to survive.

However, the industry has rebounded due to soaring oil and gas prices, leading to a fast turnaround. Nevertheless, companies in this sector are now struggling to find skilled and unskilled labour. 

A Calgary-based recruiter, Shannon Warren, expressed that the sector’s enormous demand is getting worse daily. Industry leaders, managers and recruiters are trying to attract workers to keep up with the increased demand sparked by escalating oil prices.

To attract workers, companies within the oil and gas industry have hiked wages and offered incentives to fill positions. 

Increasing wages and benefits to attract workers

The Canadian Association of Energy Contractors (CAOEC) recommends boosting the minimum salary for land drillers and service rig contractors. Hence, increasing the wages by 10 to 20 percent.  

President of CAOEC, Mark Scholz, noted that the wages have mostly remained flat in the last seven or eight years.

Increasing wages helped at least one Calgary-based employee. As Lennox Leader, a first-year plumber is about to begin a new job as a roughneck on a service rig, increasing his hourly wage from $18 to $36. 

Additionally, in some instances, signing bonuses ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 are also offered to attract workers. However, not everyone believes it can permanently alleviate the labour crisis. 

According to Scholz, in addition to increased remuneration and perks, many employees want better schedules with more flexibility to enable a balanced lifestyle.

Efforts to recruit workers 

Gurpreet Lail, President of the Petroleum Services Associations of Canada (PSAC), conducted a brief survey of its members. It found that more than 2,000 open jobs for skilled and unskilled labourers are available in the energy service sector. 

She adds that businesses went to various lengths to hire workers, including focusing on non-traditional labour pools. It includes reaching out in different languages to attract people to this industry. Moreover, assure people that “there is a future in this industry,” said Lail. 

According to the Canadian Association of Energy Contractors, the provincial government is also considering opening employment opportunities for temporary foreign workers (CAOEC).

Reasons for the severe labour shortage 

Because of the volatile nature of the oil and gas industry, people have moved on to find more stable and secure work. In addition, the public is flooded with messages that the oil and gas sector is harmful and losing relevance as the world shifts to cleaner and greener energy sources. 

Recently, U.N Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told university graduates not to work for companies extracting fossil fuels. He referred to the industry as “climate wreckers.”

President of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada, Gurpreet Lail, found the statement “disheartening.” Because just like all, even the oil and gas industry is looking for diversification. Moreover, the sector urgently needs employees to be part of that movement, explained Lail.  

Learn more about Canadian other sectors with the highest job vacancies here