Today there are an estimated 500,000 people working in the Canadian petroleum industry, and jobs in oil and gas are projected to increase over the next five to 10 years as energy demands increase and older workers retire.
A 2008 international energy outlook report predicted that worldwide energy demand will increase by 50% by 2030.
Considering Canada has the second largest oil reserves in the world after Saudi Arabia, Canada will play an increasingly important role in helping meet the world these energy demands.
And meeting these demands requires an increased need for Canadians to work in the petroleum industry.
That’s why employers are trying to increase the diversity of this job sector by appealing to aboriginal Canadians, women, immigrants and youth through competitive benefits programs and flexible schedules.
McGill University mining and engineering professor Ferri Hassani says there is now a major shortage of labour in this industry. “In Canada, the oil industry is closely tied to the mining industry because a big part of the Canadian oil industry are the tar sands, which must be excavated before the oil can be used. We have tremendous opportunities in mining and oil fields right now and the next five years will see an even bigger demand.”
The stiff competition for skilled and educated workers means high salaries: a starting salary for a mining or petroleum engineer is usually around $60,000 to $75,000, and can be as high as $100,000 per year in a good economy.
Check out the salaries for these other entry-level careers in the petroleum industry (source):
- Accountant: $41,000 – $59,000
- Buyer: $38,500 – $57,000
- Sales Representative: $51,000 – $85,000
- Junior Engineering Technologist: $46,000 – $70,000
- Engineer I: $54,000 – $74,000
Hassani says there are some ways interested students can get a step up in this industry. “Because Canada’s petroleum industry is tied to mining, students interested in gas and oil should minor in mining to get a basic understanding of the history of the industry and its needs. As one of the world’s major oil producers, we will need to fill these gaps.”
Field work is not the only category where jobs are needed. An increasing demand will be seen for the economic sector of this industry – analysts who know this industry and can then work in businesses to consult and advise on the direction of this industry. Another area to get involved is human resources management.
“In the next 50 years, we will have to deal with an increased population size and an increase in the standard of living. People will be using more resources than ever before. We have to prepare for that,” says Hassani.
“McGill has been searching for a mining engineering professor for two years and we have yet to find anyone. It just shows how much this sector has been untapped. Students who want to work in good environments and are interested in this field should begin thinking about working in this industry.”
To learn about which oil and gas careers your education and interests fit into, check out the Choose Your Future In Oil and Gas interactive quiz on the Careers In Oil and Gas website. The quiz asks a series of questions to help you find a career based on your personal interests and work environment preferences. When completed, a customized list of potential oil and gas careers is provided.
You can then conduct further research on the careers provided by assessing education and training required, work conditions and links to other resources to help in your career planning.
TalentEgg’s Petroleum Career Guide and this editorial feature were produced in partnership with the Petroleum Labour Market Information (PetroLMI) Division of Enform. For more information about starting your career in the oil and gas industry, please visit www.careersinoilandgas.com.