Move Your Career Path Forward in Canada’s Energy Sector

As a rapid recovery takes place across Canada’s energy sector, the energy service industry needs new workers to meet the industry’s needs now and into the future. Learn more about why you should consider a career in Canada’s dynamic energy sector by reading our Q&A with PetroLMI’s Program Manager Breanne O’Reilly.

Breanne O’Reilly, Program Manager, PetroLMI

Q: What are some of the most in-demand jobs in the energy sector right now?

Breanne: Oil and gas services roles are expected to grow due to higher than anticipated activity, the ramp up for LNG exports, and as industry takes advantage of government funding for site reclamation work. Our three-year forecast sees demand for the following:

  • Petroleum and gas operators to support natural gas field operations and processing.
  • Geoscience professionals and petroleum engineers — who were significantly impacted by industry restructuring and consolidation — will see an increase in hiring.
  • Occupations supporting the structural and business model shifts of the industry are also projected to be in demand. For example, roles in regulatory, Indigenous engagement and partnerships, and stakeholder relations will grow.
  • Information technology occupations are also in-demand as the industry increasingly uses digitization, automation and data to improve productivity. This holds true across all sub-sectors and regions.

Looking specifically at the energy services sub-sector, we recently conducted a survey of 20 CAOEC members across Western Canada. Nearly 90% of survey respondents expect to be hiring for energy drilling, service rig, and other energy services activities in 2021. Companies reported they were hiring for approximately 1,350 new roles.

As the energy industry heads into a busier fall and winter season, the energy services companies surveyed said they are experiencing a variety of issues recruiting workers, including a lack of qualified applicants, specifically workers who are physically fit, can pass a pre-employment drug screen, have a valid driver’s license as well as valid tickets and certificates. In addition, some companies reported they are experiencing increased competition for workers from within the oil and gas industry. Three-quarters of the companies reported that previous oil and gas workers are no longer available.

The companies surveyed said they are having difficulty in finding field workers and labourers such as rig hands, derrickhands, floorhands, and motorhands, as well as operators such as drillers, rig operators, and rig managers. Most of the companies are looking for full-time employees (94%).

Q: What are the benefits of working in oil and gas?

Breanne: The energy sector is evolving at an unprecedented pace. From the types of energy Canada produces to the technologies being used and the skills needed. It is a dynamic industry to be a part of.

Here are some of the benefits of working in the industry:

Diverse Career Paths: There are a wide variety of employers and career paths – Energy companies range in size from lean startups to industry giants. Our website, includes over 170 career profiles and stories from workers in diverse roles like engineering, IT, geosciences, labourers, and technicians.

Meaningful Careers: Some of the biggest challenges we’ll face over the next few decades are related to energy. Whether it’s ensuring a sustainable and reliable supply of energy or coming up with innovative ways of reducing GHGs and addressing climate change, the industry needs passionate, innovative leaders going forward.

Q: What types of skills are needed to pursue a career in oil and gas?

Breanne: The energy industry employs people with a wide range of qualifications and individuals are needed at all skill and experience levels.

PetroLMI’s website provides detailed career information for the following sub-sectors: Oil and natural gas, Cleantech, Digitization and Automation, Industrial Construction and Maintenance, LNG Facility Operation, Petrochemicals and Refining, and Renewables. Each career profile includes information on work activities, competencies, average salary, nature of work and work environment, and the qualifications, experience, and education needed.

In a recent survey conducted by PetroLMI of over 300 energy workers across Canada, energy workers were asked what skills they believed will be most in demand in their occupations going forward. The top five skills mentioned were communication skills, flexibility/adaptability skills, teamwork skills, technology and digital skills, and problem-solving skills.

Q: What types of growth opportunities are available within these roles?

Breanne: Growth really depends on the person’s interest and the opportunities they take. We recently hosted a panel of six workers from across the services sector. Each worker had started off in a labourer role and their paths had followed their strengths. There was a fleet manager, a trainer, a site manager, an HSE management consultant, and two blasters. They completed on the job training and advanced their careers accordingly. Many workers begin their careers in the services sector, learning in the field and funding their education before moving into other roles. On there are profiles and podcast episodes of real workers sharing their career paths and experiences.

Q: How can youth or new graduates learn more about career opportunities in oil and gas?

Breanne: PetroLMI’s new website – — provides youth and new graduates with a unique combination of technology, information, and resources to assist with career planning — no matter what sector of the industry they are interested in.

The site provides the latest research on growing opportunities in emerging sectors and a new approach to mapping out a career in energy. It also includes the latest data and workforce trends.

As part of a two-year project with the Future Skills Centre, we are also expanding our library of virtual reality experiences focused on the oil and natural gas industry to include VR experiences on emerging energy sectors: cleantech, digitization and automation, industrial construction, petrochemicals, and renewables. The first of five new experiences, a tour of a petrochemicals facility, is now available on Oculus Quest.

Q: Why should young people be excited about working in the Canadian energy industry?

Breanne: Canada’s energy industry is undergoing a transition at a pace unlike anything it has seen before. New government regulations; adoption of automation and data analytics technologies; and the advancement of manufacturing processes are all contributing to impactful change.

As the Baby Boomer generation starts to retire, the industry needs youth who are eager to contribute to the new energy future. Many of today’s youth are tech savvy, innovative, and have an entrepreneurial spirit. Canada’s energy companies are working hard to reduce their carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as increase diversity and inclusion and require future leaders passionate about new technologies, the environment, and collaborating with various partners, including Indigenous communities.

Learn more about how you can benefit from a career in the energy sector by visiting If you are interested in working on a drilling rig or service rig, find out more on the CAOEC website.