New national campaign aims to solve worker shortage in Canada’s energy sector

Enserva launches new portal to train workers and provide long-term employment opportunities

By Will Gibson
Donovan Doll works on a pipe at the CMR Fabricators Ltd. in Penhold, Alberta. Canadian Energy Centre photo by Dave Chidley

Canadian energy services association Enserva has launched its solution to solve a worker shortage of more than 3,000 jobs, including labourers, drivers and tradespeople.  

Having spent the better part of two decades working in the world of non-profit groups and think tanks, Enserva CEO Gurpreet Lail was taken aback after hearing about the sector’s labour struggles when she joined in 2021. 

“The perception outside the industry was much different,” says Lail. “This has been an ongoing challenge for a long time and our members decided to do something about it.” 

The result is a national campaign featuring the new Working Energy Portal, a sector-specific website with comprehensive job listings by the group’s 200-plus member companies and organizations. 

“This is an industry-wide challenge and we’ve found an industry solution,” Lail says.  

“We lost a lot of people during COVID and the downturn in energy prices and we’re now seeing employers fighting for labour regardless of the sector, be it energy or hospitality or technology,” she says.  

“In addition to these factors, our sector also has to address this ridiculous idea that Canadian energy is a dying industry. That’s simply not the case. The world is going to need our energy for a very long time, and we need talented people to help us innovate and produce it responsibly.” 

Enserva is hoping to connect those looking for jobs with companies that need positions filled and create a long-term solution to the shortage. 

But the portal is more than a job board. It will also serve as a training hub to provide Canadians with the right certifications, courses and a pathway to rewarding careers.    

“A lot of this is about educating people about what they might need so they can be successful in the industry, such as getting the right training and certificates,” says Lail.  

“Many prospective employers are willing to help prospective employees in order to address their needs for skilled workers. For example, if you have a clean Class 5 driver’s license, some employers who need Class 1 drivers will pay for that training.”

She says that as the energy industry continues to transform to include a mix of oil and gas and renewable sources, it needs to fill current and emerging positions in practices like artificial intelligence, robotics, geothermal energy and environmental sustainability.  

Enserva members helped create the portal in part because traditional job-search platforms didn’t always attract the right candidates or missed job seekers with real potential.  

Companies were using websites such as Indeed or LinkedIn but were finding it difficult to get the right candidates. Theyd often get more than 1,000 resumes and maybe five to 10 were suitable for interview. It takes a lot of time to sift through those,Lail says.  

We are supporting our members to create or increase awareness of their companies, and the jobs available. This way promising candidates will not miss a great opportunity and will have opportunities to learn more about energy companies.” 

Enserva aims to push into new areas and communities to engage with prospective job seekers.  

“We are reaching out to non-traditional areas to showcase the reality that you can have a long-term and rewarding career in this sector if you are a woman, Indigenous or come from a newer community in Canada,” Lail says.  

“In addition to this outreach, we are continuing to recruit in traditional areas, such as young people entering the workforce and attracting former energy workers back into the sector.” 

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