MRO Magazine


Enhanced collaboration can help solve labour challenges in oil sands: Deloitte

Deloitte forecasts that in 2015 alone, over 52,000 people will be required in construction, operations and engineering in the Alberta oil sands, which is more than half of the total labour supply projected (92,000) for the entire province. Facing such ongoing shortages in skilled labour, oil sands producers should be pursuing collaborative approaches to talent management, according to a new report released today from Deloitte. More than simply identifying and describing longstanding factors and drivers of the labour supply-demand imbalance, Balancing the people equation: How enhanced collaboration can help solve labour challenges in the oil sands provides practical solutions to companies for specific problems.

“We believe that, if pursued by individual organizations in isolation, efforts to solve these problems are likely to be less pronounced or impactful than if pursued collaboratively across stakeholder domains,” says Van Zorbas, a partner in Deloitte’s Calgary office and national leader of its Human capital consulting practice for the energy and resources industry. “All stakeholders – from the producers themselves to their suppliers as well as governments and communities – need to be at the table.”

Balancing the people equation expands on Deloitte’s Gaining ground in the sands 2012 (released in fall 2011), which argued that the imminent labour shortage is the principal challenge for the oil sands and offered a range of potential next steps. Balancing the people equation provides definitive answers to the questions raised by outlining a number of specific opportunities for oil sands companies and other stakeholders to work together on labour issues.

“We have had numerous conversations with companies operating in this difficult business and all of them agree that finding solutions to their human resources needs is a top priority,” says Geoffrey Cann, Deloitte partner and oil & gas consulting leader. “We are also seeing more interest in working together to face shared challenges head-on. Take the Oil Sands Tailings Consortium (OSTC), for example – that kind of collaborative spirit is precisely what is needed to balance what we call the ‘people equation.’ ”

The report describes four categories of collaboration (inter-company, intra-company, institutional and community) to help meet talent demands while satisfying myriad stakeholder concerns and increasing both the economic and social value of the oil sands.

For a more detailed discussion of collaborative approaches to oil sands talent management, download the full report.