Canada could lose 185,000 direct and indirect jobs this year due to low oil prices, according to the Petroleum Labour Market Information (PetroLMI) Division of Enform, with two-thirds of the losses coming in Alberta.
British Columbia is on track to lose 20,000 jobs, Ontario 14,000. Actual job figures for the year will depend on how effectively employers can manage their labour costs, PetroLMI director Carol Howes told the Edmonton Journal.
Canada’s fossil fuel industry is expected to cut capital and operational spending by $31 billion this year. Exploration, development, and production spending totalled $125 billion last year.
“Some companies, leery of cutting too deeply, are finding ‘creative ways’ to maintain their work forces,” the Journal reports, citing Howes. “Some employers are trying job sharing, shorter work weeks, and unpaid vacations. Other efforts include moving workers into other positions until they are needed again in their regular roles, using training programs to upgrade workers’ skills, and holding the line on executive salaries.”
Howes says the companies “are very conscious and aware of the fact that it’s really important to balance the shorter-term factors we’re dealing with versus the long-term need to hold on to skills and talent.”
The outlook beyond 2015 “is still uncertain, and there are no indications that the industry will recover as quickly in 2016 as it did in 2010,” writes PetroLMI, previously the Petroleum Human Resources Council. “The employment implications of this downturn will depend greatly on what happens to commodity prices over the next few months, but also on the behaviour of oil and gas companies and those that support and supply the industry.”