Low Oil Prices Don’t Spell Disaster for Alberta

Low Oil Prices Don’t Spell Disaster for Alberta

Posted by · on February 01, 2015 · in Employment, job seekers, Labour Market, Oil and Gas Jobs · with Comments Off on Low Oil Prices Don’t Spell Disaster for Alberta

Plunging oil prices and industry layoffs may be scaring Albertans, but a local recruitment company says not all jobs are in danger.

“It’s not as dire as it seems,” says Trevor Mahl, CEO of Collective Recruitment, an oil and gas recruitment agency that has its pulse on the industry. “Many projects are still going ahead and companies are still hiring, especially in the construction industry.”


Although oil prices are down, major projects are still going forward as well as other small and medium sized capital and maintenance projects.

Major projects such as the $13.5-billion Fort Hills mine just north of Fort McMurray are still going forward, and there are many other small and medium sized capital and maintenance projects being built as well, says Mahl.

“All these projects are creating an ongoing need for workers in construction, particularly in maintenance construction jobs such as labourers and operators, and management positions such as process operators and site superintendents.”

Watch Collective’s recent interview with BNN about Alberta’s changing labour market.

The industry slowdown is almost a relief for the construction industry, which has been dealing with an ongoing shortage due to not only a labour shortage, but also a high number of older workers set for retirement. According to a report by Enform (formerly the Petroleum Human Resources Council), attrition will create significant job openings as 37,500 construction skilled workers and 6,380 oil sands operation workers in Alberta could potentially retire between 2014-2023.

The construction industry also sees another benefit of low oil – cost savings. “Construction has been dealing with inflated prices on materials and supplies during our boom periods,” says Mahl. “Situations like this give them a bit of breathing room and the opportunity to get a better cost on their materials and supplies, as well as labour.”

While it’s hard to say how low the price of oil needs to go before the market stabilizes itself, in the mean time there are other short-term economic upsides to Alberta’s low oil prices and depreciating dollar.

Non-resource based economies in places like Ontario, B.C. and Nova Scotia are expected to see economic growth through the decline in the energy sector.

Consumers should also see a drop in traveling costs as oil prices decrease and U.S. travellers and even the film industry take advantage of the low cost of travelling and doing business here.

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