Calgary, Alberta – Canada’s oil and gas industry is headed towards severe and chronic labour shortages, regardless of future energy prices and industry activity, according to the Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada.

“There’s no way around it,” said Cheryl Knight, executive director and CEO of the Council. “Canada’s petroleum industry will struggle to find the workers it needs over the next ten years. Not only will we need to replace thousands of our most skilled and experienced workers but prepare for future growth as well.”

In 2011, the first baby boomers reach 65 and mark the beginning of a trend where more workers leave than enter the workforce. According to the Council’s latest long-term labour market report, this means over 30 per cent of the industry’s core workforce are expected to retire in the next decade, driving the need to hire at least 39,000 workers. If the industry expands due to activity, 130,000 workers will be needed to fill new positions and keep pace with retirements.

“We are going into a perfect storm,” Knight said. “Just when the industry needs workers the most, Canada’s labour supply will be dwindling as the overall population ages. Our industry will need to be prepared to face a labour shortage more severe than in 2007.”

Some oil and gas companies are already coping with chronic shortages for certain occupations, and shortages are expected in all core occupations as early as 2013.

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