In Canada: Build the Brand

By The Bakken Magazine Staff | June 24, 2013

Worker recruitment is a crucial facet of running any successful Bakken-based operation, and as a recently released workforce study assessing hiring practices in the Bakken shows, finding success in the oil patch is all about building the brand. The Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada surveyed Canadian-based oil and gas companies on human resource trends, hiring strategies and workforce projections. The survey, “HR Trends and Insights: Workforce Conditions in Canada’s Bakken Oil Play,” concluded that to recruit workers locally or from outside the region, “companies aggressively compete based on their company brand or reputation.” 

More than half of the survey participants said company culture, leadership, strategy, stability and financial performance were the key selling points used to attract top staff. The report also states that successful staffing in the Canadian portion of the play requires the constant communication of the company’s brand promise to prospective employees. Interview participants from human resource departments also noted that companies could even work in unison to positively brand the oil and gas industry in the Canadian Bakken to show younger workers the opportunities for multiple career paths and to older workers to highlight the retirement options linked to oil and gas companies. 

The need for additional staff, in combination with the need to maintain current staff levels, is important to the continued development in the region. According to the survey, from November 2010 to November 2012, total employment in Saskatchewan and Manitoba increased by 25,100 jobs, more than half of which came in the Bakken region. Of the 280 Bakken-related job postings recently offered, the survey says, 77 percent were from service companies, 21 per cent were posted by exploration and production firms and the remaining 2 percent were posted by pipeline-based organizations. 

More than half of all oil and gas companies surveyed reported plans to add new staff, based on market opportunity, expansion efforts and the need to meet seasonal demands. Hiring isn’t easy, however. The most pressing challenge for human resource departments is attracting and retaining workers in the remote locations of the Bakken, the report says. And, for Canadian employers looking for U.S.-based labor, challenges also exist. According to the report, working visas and housing costs are the main deterrent for U.S. workers to cross the border.