Canada?s Talent Pipeline Dries Up – Energy Sector Hit by Severe Labour Shortage: Deloitte Survey

While majority of organizations confirmed the talent shortage already cripples productivity and impacts production, only 18% have strategies in place to face the challenge…

Toronto, August 29th, 2006 — Canada?s energy and resources sector is in a labour ?pinch? that is expected to deepen in the coming years, reveals a Deloitte survey released today. According to the survey findings, a vast majority of respondents (80%) confirmed that talent shortage has limited the productivity and efficiency of their organizations, and more than half (55%) acknowledged the lack of skilled workers has impacted production requirements and customer demand. The 2006 Energy and Resources Talent Pulse Survey conducted by Deloitte, with the support of the Energy Counsel of Canada included 55 respondents from Canadian oil and gas, utilities and mining companies.

Attracting specific types of labour (67%), followed by attracting new talent (60%) and the departure of baby-boomers (49%), were recognized by respondents as the top three most critical people-issues organizations face. Survey respondents also confirmed the labour shortage impacts all segments of their workforce, but particularly with hourly/blue collar employees. Nearly half (47%) of companies are experiencing a high-level shortage of blue collar workers and a similar number of respondents also anticipate the serious shortage to continue over the next three to five years. An additional 42% of respondents confirmed their companies are facing a moderate blue collar workforce crunch that will continue over the coming years.

?The survey findings serve as a reality check that Canada?s talent crisis has already hit home. The impact will vary widely from one industry to the next – but the energy and resources sector will be one of the hardest hit.? says Dick Cooper, partner, National Energy & Resources practice, Deloitte. ?To effectively prepare for and manage the talent crisis, organizations must first identify the critical skill sets that will help them grow their business and then deploy the appropriate strategies to attract, retain and develop a workforce that possess these appropriate capabilities.?

While the talent crisis in the energy and resources sector is a reality for the majority of the survey respondents, only 18% of them confirmed they have strategies in place and are ready to face the challenge, while three-quarters (73%) are only now getting ready and beginning to develop appropriate strategies. Additionally, a breakdown of responses by sub-sectors reveals a great divergence between utilities and oil & gas companies in the level of preparedness. Eighty-three per cent of survey participants from the utilities sub-sector confirmed they have taken the first step in defining a list of critical skills required for future growth, compared to less than 40% of companies within the oil & gas sub-sector.

However, while the majority of survey participants are only at the infancy stage in defining and implementing strategies to deal with the talent crisis, they are moving forward in the right direction. Among the leading strategies to attract talent, as identified by respondents, were ?increasing career growth options? (63%), ?offering more training and development options? (55%) and ?collaborating with colleges/universities and professional associations? (43%). Talent attraction strategies based on financial incentives such as ?higher salaries? (22%), ?incentive pay? (20%) and ?improved benefits plans? (18%) ranked lower.

?Clearly the energy sector has realized that compensation-based strategies to manage talent and acquire talent are no longer a means to an end in an environment of demographic change and severe labour shortage,? says Stephen Diotte, partner, Human Capital practice, Deloitte. ?Talent programs need to move beyond costly ?band-aid? remedies and evolve into long-term solutions that take into account developing, deploying and connecting employees. In a labour market where there isn?t enough talent to go around, the best approach is to ?grow your own?.?