By Josh Owens
A total of 37 percent of oil and gas companies in Canada resorted to permanent layoffs due to the pandemic-driven oil price and oil demand slump, a recent survey of energy labor market organization PetroLMI showed. The energy firms in Canada launched measures to reduce labor costs across their organizations, according to the survey of energy workers and executives carried out by PetroLMI, a division of Energy Safety Canada.
At the time of the survey in August and September, 68 percent of energy workers said their company had implemented at least one labor cost reduction measure since the start of the pandemic, while 54 percent had implemented multiple measures to cut labor costs.
Apart from permanent layoffs, other measures included a hiring freeze for 35 percent of companies, a reduction in executive pay for 29 percent, a reduction in worker pay for 28 percent of firms, temporary layoffs implemented in 27 percent of companies, and a reduction in hours for 21 percent of energy companies.
“While nearly four in 10 energy workers surveyed said their company implemented permanent layoffs, many companies were seeking alternatives to layoffs. For employers, negotiating reduced wages, hours, benefits and/or bonuses were some of the methods used to retain employees—especially those with unique skills, training or certifications,” PetroLMI said in the report.
Job losses in the Canadian natural resources sector hit an all-time high in the second quarter, at 43,000, official data showed in September. The loss of oil demand drove the job losses, Statistics Canada said in September, with employment in the industry falling 7.3 percent during the second quarter of the year, the steepest decline ever recorded.
According to PetroLMI’s latest labor data for October 2020, Canada’s oil and gas employment increased by 2.78 percent, or 4,452 workers, last month from September 2020. However, compared to October 2019, Canada’s employment in the oil and gas sector has decreased by 11.51 percent, or by 21,416 workers. Canada’s oil and gas employment has been on an upward trend since June 2020, PetroLMI data shows.