With direct employment in Canada’s oil and gas sector forecasted to fall by 12,500 jobs in 2019, the industry is facing a skills shortfall. According to PetroLMI’s 2019 labour market update, the workforce is expected to drop to around 173,000 jobs this year, down 23% since 2014.
Our CEO Survey shows 68% of global oil and gas CEOs are concerned about the availability of important skills in their industry, especially when it comes to the digital skills needed to implement a digital transformation strategy. And it’s not just about hiring more data scientists and engineers—it’s about upskilling and preparing their workforce for a new way of working.
Our survey results align with research done by PetroLMI, which forecasts increased demand for data processing skills to collect data, to clean data to eliminate inaccuracies and to code data so the data is compatible with data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) applications.
The research also shows Canadian oil and gas companies could struggle to find these workers, as they must compete with other industries for a limited pool of professionals. This is a concern for oil and gas leaders, who list the industry’s reputation as being highly volatile as the second-highest reason it has become more difficult to hire workers, directly behind a deficit in supply of skilled workers.
Canadian CEOs suggest a strong pipeline of talent from educational institutions is the best way of closing the potential skills gap. But global CEOs take a different view: they tend to see significant retraining and internal upskilling as the priorities, and they won’t just wait for government and education to close the gap.
Nonetheless, Canadian companies are using a variety of strategies to work around this digital skills shortage. One strategy is to buy AI technologies directly from global suppliers, limiting the internal need for data scientists and other professionals to develop and implement new systems. Others believe existing professionals in the geosciences and engineering fields can be trained to use new digital technologies, especially since they already have the necessary industry knowledge to make sure systems are working.
For employees to reach their potential—and for organizations to capture the benefits of a digitally enabled company—leadership needs to take a few steps:
Cultivate the right mindset, with a focus on transforming the business, rather than a technology-led transformation.
Give employees the right tools, fostering collaboration across silos within the organization.
Encourage the right behaviours, like collaboration and co-creation, within the digital environment.
Encourage the right motivations, where technology users understand the benefits of designing solutions that work for their job requirements, and give incentives to adopt organizational changes.
Partner, National Energy and Alberta Consulting Leader, PwC Canada
Tel: +1 403 509 7397