Alberta is known for yielding a large percentage of Canada’s oil and gas resources, and in the years to come, the province’s petroleum industry will produce even more job opportunities for students and new grads in all fields.
The baby boomers are getting older and as they head into retirement they’re leaving behind more jobs than the current candidate pool can fill. Additionally, as the industry evolves, so does its demand for workers.
Together, these two factors have amounted to a labour shortage in Canada’s petroleum industry and, as a result, the oil and gas industry needs to fill 5,400 new jobs in the next three years, according the Petroleum Labour Market Information (PetroLMI) Division of Enform.
Oil and gas in Alberta, by the numbers
While the entire industry is experiencing growth, much of this expansion will be seen in Alberta. The Western province is known for its oil an gas sector and for good reason. It has about three quarters of the nation’s oil and gas industry, far surpassing British Columba (7%), Saskatchewan (6%) and the rest of the country (6%).
Alberta also has the most job opportunities for students looking to get into the oil and gas sector. The province’s oil sands operations alone employ more than 20,000 workers and this community of co-workers is projected to grow by 73% by 2021.
How to stand out to oil and gas employers in Alberta
Almost every job in the oil and gas sector requires solid teamwork skills as people from a variety of technical and academic backgrounds must work together to ensure the valuable oil and gas can be extracted from the earth and distributed to people around the world.
Be ready and willing to travel and relocate
As oil and gas is a rapidly evolving industry, companies are looking for new hires who enjoy traveling and living in new locations. You should be ready and willing to relocate or travel if the company’s business needs require it. Oil and gas workers in Alberta, especially those in positions that require post-secondary education, often move between operations and head offices for training, mentorship and exposure to a variety of situations and operations.
Stay up-to-date on the latest technology
Technology is an extremely important aspect of the petroleum industry. Equipment and techniques are constantly changing, and experience with the latest and greatest can only help your career. (Check out University of Calgary Engineering student Roshan Philip’s experience working with the latest steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) technology during his Production Engineering internship with Suncor Energy.)
Whether you’re planning to go into a technical role or support the industry behind-the-scenes, don’t be afraid to geek out a little bit about the most innovative technologies in oil and gas. Being genuinely interested in as well as excited and knowledgeable about the industry and each specific employer’s operations and goals will definitely make employers notice you!
Show employers that you have the most in-demand skills
On the technical side: They are looking for students with a general mechanical aptitude, who like working outdoors and traveling, and who are skilled in science and math. Balancing your technical skills with soft skills, such as the ability to work well in teams, show leadership and communicate effectively, will put you at the top of any employer’s list!
On the business and operations support side: You don’t have to be an engineer or driller to make it in Alberta’s oil and gas industry. There are opportunities for students of all disciplines and backgrounds. Employers are seeking candidates with solid communication and management skills. Being able to see the “big picture” doesn’t hurt either – the oil and gas industry is made up of thousands of interconnected operations and processes around the world, and you will likely be responsible for overseeing an important segment somewhere along the line.