Do You Have What It Takes To Work In Oil And Gas?


Variety is one of the most remarkable qualities offered by careers available in the oil and gas industry.

There’s something for everyone, whether you’re beginning your first career or starting one anew. With opportunities for work indoors and outdoors, physical work and creative work, and even detailed work or big-picture work, the oil and gas industry can accommodate every disposition and personality.

But besides variety, there’s also opportunity. Petroleum products play a central part in the average person’s daily life, which means strong and steady growth in the oil and gas industry is a sure thing.

A little research into the oil and gas industry confirms that the people are what make it all possible.

The big picture

Many roles in the oilsands workforce involve work in the field.

According to the latest report by the Petroleum Labour Market Information (PetroLMI) Division of Enform, one of the most in-demand positions in the oil and gas industry over the next decade will be the power engineer role, responsible for the safe and efficient operation and maintenance of industrial equipment of in-situ and upgrading operations.

Positions for heavy equipment operators and heavy-duty equipment mechanics (who maintain and repair engines and engine support systems) will also be quite popular.

If you’re interested in work that is tangible, applied and hands-on, these positions are a great avenue to consider, as you’ll be well-positioned to fulfill a key support role in keeping the oil and gas industry up to speed.

However, it’s a common misconception that a career in the oil and gas industry means only one kind of work.

More than one kind of job

The PetroLMI report indicates that the oil and gas industry is on track for steady and significant growth in the next decade and will need more than 30,000 new employees.

This future growth potential creates a field of opportunity for professional roles that you might have overlooked!

While many of these roles are for skilled trades and technical roles one might typically associate with the oil and gas industry, it’s important to recognize that work in this field includes opportunities for a diverse range of skillsets.

For example, the report found that there will be significant growth in opportunity for employees in human resources, a field which makes up roughly 15 per cent of the oil sands workforce.

There will also be a growth of opportunity for diverse career roles as environmental technicians and inspectors, professional roles in public relations and communications and supply chain roles in shipping, receiving, management, purchasing and inventory and more.

These fields not only offer different kinds of working environments and responsibilities, they also accommodate different educational backgrounds, which means that finding the right oil and gas career has never been easier.

Furthermore, though much oil and gas industry growth will take place in the western provinces, there are also opportunities for careers in oil and gas in Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Quebec.

This is great news if you’re apprehensive about relocation.

A real lifestyle

The oil and gas industry also accommodates a variety of lifestyles. While many positions involve working outdoors, that doesn’t mean you’ll be leaving all indoor comforts behind.

While many oil and gas extraction sites are found in remote areas, most workers reside in camps set apart from work locations, many of which offer gym amenities, coffee shops, satellite television and internet.

Some positions require workers to fly in and out of work sites by helicopter, meaning that your commute to work will always be exciting!

Other worksites are located a brief journey from nearby towns and cities, where industry workers have access to shopping centres, entertainment and thriving nightlife.


It’s also important to recognize that safety is a key value in the oil and gas industry.

With so many people working in hands-on roles, it’s imperative that employers in oil and gas go above and beyond the norm to achieve the highest safety standards.

Canada’s oil and gas industry has an excellent safety reputation worldwide – one backed by a proven track record of excellence ensuring a safe workplace.

A 2011 study conducted by Work Safe Alberta found that the oil and gas industry has the fewest lost-time claim and injury rates when compared to other labour-intensive fields like construction and transportation.

Pathways to a career

Just as growth in the oil and gas industry means opportunities for both on-site workers and those who prefer an office, it’s important to recognize that there are also a number of different educational backgrounds that can lead to a career in oil and gas.

For instance, university degrees, trade tickets, college diplomas and professional certifications can all lead to different roles in oil and gas, depending on your focus and experience.

This is promising news, particularly if you’re considering going back to school to start a new career.

Where do you come in?

With all the opportunities available in oil and gas, it’s really up to you to decide which role is most appropriate for you.

On the more technical end of things, math and science skills are generally of value, as are computer literacy, problem solving and organizational skills and documentation skills, as you may have to work with plans, directions and maps.

While there’s no one particular set of skills that ensure success in the oil and gas industry, some commonly valued attributes include a good work ethic, positive attitude, teamwork-oriented disposition, a desire to learn and grow and a high level of adaptability.

Eager to learn more about careers in the oil and gas industry? Explore TalentEgg’s Petroleum Career Guide!

About the author

Elias Da Silva-Powell is a Content, Marketing and Community Specialist at TalentEgg, as well as a two-time graduate of Queen's University. An avid bow-titan, he has been trying to bring whimsical neck wear back into the mainstream since 2008. He's around on Twitter: @EDSPowell and you can check out his profile on LinkedIn, and even G+.