Last week, we identified mining as one of Canada's growth industries—and one of the reasons why we're seeing Canadian wage rates—and employment rates—grow. But another industry that's leading the way is the oil and gas industry; Statistics Canada, in fact, reported that in the month of May, the industry grew by 6.8 per cent.
Those gains, however, didn't only occur on the oil fields of Ft. McMurray. It's called the oil and gas industry because it's, well, and industry—and there are plenty of ways to become part of one of Canada's oil boom. Here, Andrew Williams explores the range of oil and gas-related positions you might not have considered. -Mark Teo
Not everyone in the oil and gas industry is like Daniel Day-Lewis.
Wait... what? Analysts? HR representatives? Lawyers? These are people we normally wouldn’t picture all greased up working in an oil field or operating a massive rig. Nevertheless, these are actual roles that could be found in the oil and gas industry. To get a grasp of some of these areas, we spoke with Nancy Eaton-Doke of Nexen, a Calgary-based energy company, to give us a quick glance at careers that aren’t particularly linked to the more popular engineering aspects of this industry. And, like role in oil and gas, you can be sure that the pay is competitive.
Da scoop: “There have been a few entry level type positions that would be called Counsel,” says Eaton-Doke. Aside from supporting the Senior Counsel, lawyers in this industry handle all the messy legal bits the company might come across, from advising on securities filings in Canada and our neighbours to the south, to monitoring regulatory and legislative changes in Canada as well as the U.S.
What’cha need: a Bachelor of Law, a JurisDoctor would look pretty good as well. Career experience is important to have under your belt, with at least two to four years at a Canadian Bar (and not the kind where you mix drinks), and a background in a corporate, commercial or securities law firm.
Da scoop: Involves dealing with any matter concerning employees, their well-being, and recruitment. Here you might work in the compensation department, reviewing things such as employee salaries. Other tasks may include performance review and interviewing. Eaton-Dokedescribes graduates who work on alcohol and drug policies within the company and even accidental death and dismemberment policies. Also, in the world of oil and gas where you have employees living on site away from home, expect to make sure that workers are well-accommodated, and that they know where they’re going the first day of work, especially when they’re assigned to a place like an oil field.
What’cha need: Communication skills, technical skills. “We always ask for cover letters, since resumes tend to look the same,” says Eaton-Doke. “So if you could tell us something about yourself in the cover letter that’s different from everyone else, it’ll give your resume more of an edge, and that can be an involvement in the community and competitive sports, or having activities and interests.”
Analyst – Workforce Reporting and Security
Da scoop: a specialized branch of HR, these folks are concerned with managing the human capital or workforce data issues within the company, and develop better strategies to address and coordinate these issues. Here you’ll work closely with integrated systems and databases such as PeopleSoft for analyzing and reporting. As Eaton-Doke outlines, some of your responsibilities may include:
1. contributing to company surveys;
2. developing queries and reports to generate reliable and consistent information for year end, Board of Directors and other external reporting requirements;
3. preparing HR performance measures, scorecard and general workforce/demographic analysis.
What’cha need: at least five years of business experience in an analytical role and proficiency with HR and payroll utilities such PeopleSoft Query, Crystal Reports, etc.
Da scoop: Employees in this area work and consult with communities. They also ensure adherence to safety standards and regulations, and take measurements towards sustainability. This field is all about building and maintaining relationships, which also includes community investment and media relations. Many companies, for example, have various programs aimed at helping diverse Aboriginal communities. “Nexen has huge community involvement;” says Eaton-Doke, ”we sponsor a lot of different areas, arts and culture, as well as a few things related directly to the business.”
What’cha need:a robust history of community involvement, at least five years of industry experience, post-secondary degree, background in environmental affairs, familiarity with stakeholder issues related to oil and gas.
Da scoop: Environmental engineers develop approaches to help engineering teams minimize ecological footprints and adhere to environmental regulations. You’ll work towards environmental approvals, assist with action plans and carry out waste management initiatives. In the event of spills or contamination incidents, you would also help contain and resolve the situation as effectively as possible.
What’cha need:a Bachelor’s or Master’s in environmental engineering and at least three to five years working in the environmental sector or oil and gas industry.
Da scoop: “[Supply management] would be working on the complete procurement process for assigned parts of the oil field or corporate purchases up to delivery to the end user,” says Eaton-Doke, “so start to finish of the procurement process.” Indeed, supply chains are an industry all in their own, providing all sorts of facets that you can get into. As part of the oil and gas industry, you’ll be managing the logistical aspects of the company’s operations.
What’cha need: a bachelor’s degree in business or training in economics, a background in engineering (preferred), and a designation in procurement such as the SCMP(Supply Chain Management Professional) doesn’t hurt at all.
Given the vastness and far reaching diversity of oil and gas, it could be considered not one industry, but various industries working together. For any oil and gas company, all these industries are connected for the common goal of finding and delivering the resources we depend on.