2016 Hays Salary Guide - Oil & Gas

A turbulent year for Canada’s natural resource industry will translate to future skills shortages as business growth recovers.

Decisions made during the rebuilding phase will determine the depth of talent shortages in coming year.

December 1, 2015 – Toronto, ON – Canada’s oil and gas employers are emerging from a very challenging 2015 with weak economic confidence, and a very cautious outlook for business activity and hiring plans for 2016. Findings of the sixth annual Hays Salary Guide reveal that although oil and gas employers predict next year will be stable, with modest growth, skills shortage and recruitment issues are looming because so many employees have left the sector.

Conducted in October, the Hays Salary Guide highlights employer confidence, a look at business expectations versus results and a snapshot of hiring trends and challenges. Going into 2015, Hays found nearly three-quarters (70%) of oil and gas employers anticipated business growth during the year. However, the potential for those gains was erased as 2015 unfolded and the price of oil dropped. In fact, almost 75 per cent of employers experienced business losses, which is in stark contrast to a national, cross-sector figure of 24 per cent that experienced a decline in business.


Oil and gas losses were deep enough in 2015 that 62 per cent of industry respondents were forced to make unexpected staff cuts. Not surprisingly, employers are pessimistic as 2016 approaches, but there are signs that some believe the worst of the collapse has passed. While more than one-third (37%) believe next year will bring further deterioration to business, more than half expect things will stabilize and possibly increase to the point that more than half (53%) anticipate secure staffing levels with no further cuts, while 11 per cent per cent expect to increase permanent staff levels.

“This past year was difficult for many industries, but oil and gas employers experienced the brunt of the downturn,” said Rowan O’Grady, President, Hays Canada. “Moving into 2016, the general feeling is that this next year will be better for the industry. Following drastic staffing cuts, this next rebuilding phase will be critical for recruitment and skills shortage issues down the road. Employers should focus on building their online presence and reputation to attract and identify future candidates, and invest in training current employees to fill any potential skills gaps that may result from employees leaving the industry and cuts.”

Plenty of pressure but no plans to hire or train employees   
Many oil and gas employers report that staff cuts have put remaining personnel under considerable pressure resulting in burnout and low morale. Despite this, half said they do not plan to hire and close to the same number (42%) said salary increases are not in the cards for 2016.

Hays also found that 57 per cent of respondents believe the industry suffers from a moderate to extreme skills shortage due to a lack of training and development. While employers consider this their responsibility, almost none (2%) plan to add professional development to their plans.

“Training staff and supporting career development is no longer a nice-to-have perk,” said O’Grady. “A third of the employees we polled said they would leave a company that doesn’t support their goals. When you combine that with the fact that workers are already stretched to the breaking point, you start to see the real recruitment and retention predicament that awaits oil and gas employers when the market inevitably turns around.”

How about resources and mining?

Professionals in Canada’s natural resources industry beyond oil and gas experienced a similar year, with mirrored conservative expectations moving into 2016. Nearly half (45%) of resource and mining professionals reported decreased business activity in 2015, which, similar to oil and gas professionals, is well above what employers reported nationally. Overall outlook for 2016 is more cautiously optimistic than their oil and gas counterparts, with only 26 per cent anticipating further decreases.
With more than half (55%) of employers reporting staff cuts in 2015 and an additional 40 per cent reporting further cuts moving into 2016, current employees are feeling pressure more than ever. Employers in the resource and mining industry have expressed concern over growing skills shortages, with three quarters (76%) of employers identifying moderate to extreme issues around talent gaps. Similar to oil and gas employers, more than one quarter of employers have attributed shortages to a lack of training, yet only three per cent plan to add it to their recruitment and retention strategies for 2016.

Additional highlights

•    63 per cent of resource and mining employers are not actively hiring new graduates despite reports of a growing skills shortage
•    2016 salary increases for resource and mining professionals are more modest than the previous year, with 21% reporting no increases compared to eight per cent in the previous year
•    Almost three quarters (73%) of oil and gas employees experience moderate to extreme workplace pressure due to the lack of employees and skills present
•    Work from home options, pension/RRSP contributions and flexible work hours are the top-three incentives oil and gas employers want to add in an effort to attract talent

About Hays Canada:

Hays Specialist Recruitment Canada is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hays plc, which has been at the forefront of the global recruitment industry for over thirty-five years. With annual revenues of over £2.1 billion, Hays Specialist Recruitment is the largest specialist recruitment consultancy in the world.

For more information please contact:
Sarah Pattillo
Media Profile
Direct: 416-342-1837


2018 Hays Salary Guide