Rotational workforce remains critical to success in Alberta’s oil and gas industry

Rotational workforce remains critical to success in Alberta’s oil and gas industry

by ahnationtalk on June 29, 2015784 Views

CALGARY – Rotational workers have become a vital and permanent component of Alberta’s oil and gas industry workforce, according to a report released today by the Petroleum Labour Market Information (PetroLMI) Division of Enform (formerly the Petroleum Human Resources Council). The research highlights that Alberta’s rotational workforce is not a temporary business choice, but rather an ongoing business requirement that supports industry growth and Canada’s economic well-being.

“The cyclical nature of Alberta’s oil and gas industry requires a mobile and flexible workforce that adapts to various work demands and locations in order to ensure ongoing operations,” says Carol Howes, Director of PetroLMI. “This research takes an extensive look at the growth of rotational workers, the work camps where they live and their impact on industry and communities – insight that can help guide critical decision-making at the community, corporate and provincial government levels.”

The report, Rotating, Not Relocating: Alberta’s Oil and Gas Rotational Workforce, helps to explain and demystify Alberta camp life and the world of rotational work where little information exists. While the availability of comprehensive Canadian and international data is limited, analysis of trends and demographic shifts in Alberta’s rotational workforce since the early 2000s is presented.

For example, the data refutes the common perception that rotational workers are generally young and single, and instead indicates that more rotational workers are older and married, or in common-law relationships. Researchers also found that many workers actively choose and prefer the camp and rotational work lifestyle for reasons beyond increased salaries, such as lifestyle advantages for family, more vacation due to greater flexibility in rotations and premium accommodations. The key to success, the research concludes, is a realistic perspective of the benefits and challenges associated with rotational work, which then enables workers to optimize these financial, social and lifestyle impacts.

A number of underlying factors leading to the growth of the rotational workforce for the oil and gas are also examined, and maintaining worker safety was found to be one of the key drivers in developing a rotational workforce. Some workers interviewed felt the focus and due diligence around safety was far stricter compared to sites where workers went home at the end of the day.

“Camps offer a number of safety benefits to industry and nearby communities,” says Cameron MacGillivray, President and CEO of Enform. “Workers are kept off the road after long shifts and attention to safety is a priority inside of the camps.”

Several advantages and potential drawbacks of a rotational workforce to Alberta communities are evaluated, and it was found that if certain risk factors are mitigated, local and Aboriginal communities can benefit from industry investment in the community, including partnerships that provide employment, training and contracting local services.

In conclusion, the report provides recommendations for further research on community impacts and regular reporting to help fill gaps in demographic data.

“Alberta’s industry and regulators have progressively evolved the rotational workforce and camp life,” says Howes. “This includes minimizing community and environmental impacts and maximizing worker quality of life through implementing best practices in safety, scheduling, accommodations and workplace culture.”

Rotating, Not Relocating: Alberta’s Oil and Gas Rotational Workforce is now available at no charge on PetroLMI’s website.

Funded in part by the Government of Alberta’s Ministry of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour and the Government of Canada’s Sectorial Initiatives Program. The opinions and interpretations in this report are those of PetroLMI and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Alberta or the Government of Canada.

The Petroleum Labour Market Information (PetroLMI) Division of Enform (formerly the Petroleum Human Resources Council) is a leading resource for labour market information and trends in the Canadian petroleum industry. PetroLMI specializes in providing petroleum labour market data, analysis and insights, as well as occupation profiles and other resources for workforce and career planning.

For all media inquiries:

Caileigh Rhind
Advisor, Communications
Petroleum Labour Market Information (PetroLMI) Division of Enform
Phone: 403.516.8127


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