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Alberta Online Encyclopedia
Canadian Petroleum Heritage
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By Occupation

By OccupationAccording to Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, 280,000 people were employed in the energy industry in 1998. Another indication of the importance of the petroleum industry was that in 2001 over a half a million Canadians were directly and indirectly employed due to the petroleum industry. Overall 2 percent of the total employment in Canada is in the energy sector. The energy sector in Canada is at the forefront of productivity growth for several reasons. One was the increase in education. Approximately 68 percent of workers in the petroleum and gas sector have a post-secondary education. A highly trained workforce equals increased productivity. As well, the increase in machine labour has affected productivity. Also with new exploration made possible by technology, areas all over Canada have been opening up such as the Hibernia project. With this comes increased employment and profits in the industry. In 1992, the energy sector average annual income per hour was $80.64. This industry outperforms the business manufacturing and service sector by over 3.5 percent in all cases.

The industry has been diversifying its workforce in two main ways. Aboriginals make up 5 percent of the workforce, and this percentage will only increase as the industry explores remote northern areas. Today, women comprise 20 percent of the industry's employment. This will expand as companies pursue equal opportunity employment schemes. Also, many government and schools are targeting women in their ad campaigns to encourage women to pursue careers in the energy sector. One area where industry leaders are concerned is the aging population. Approximately one quarter of the workforce in oil and gas are forty-five or older. The industry as a whole has to work together to attract younger workers. Many people under the age of forty are not interested in the oil and gas industry, partly due to the misconception that it is not innovative or technologically advanced. Many associations such as the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers are trying to change this and inform the public about the industry. A recent study was done on Western Canadian Drilling Cycle Optimization. It looked at the reasons and drivers behind completing most seismic and drilling work in the fourth and first quarters. The study addressed the negative impact on the workers due to the seasonality of the jobs. Year round stability and minimal requirement for work in remote locations are needed to attract young workers.

 

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