Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Calgary Downturn in Oil and Gas Creates 'Multiskilling'

Research reveals that the oil price is expected to hover between $40/bbl and 60$/bbl throughout 2016 with little chance of recovery until 2017. Many oil and gas related jobs will continue to disappear in Calgary and many like myself may never return to the business.

The down turn will likely continue in Calgary as profits from oil and gas, service, financial, construction, trucking and real estate industries will decline.  On the flip side some industry sectors like health care, social services, warehousing and logistics will continue to see growth.

The future of the oil and gas industry in Calgary will likely involve more downsizing, salary reductions and increased cost cutting as the industry transforms itself.

Successful companies will likely use a "Multiskilling" approach to jobs.  The idea is that with investment in re-training, one skilled worker can become proficient at doing the job of two or three skilled workers.  While I believe that cross-training should always be encouraged there are advantages and disadvantages.

Multiskilling can improve workforce quality, increase reliability and advance careers.  Specialists can be reassigned more easily, the workforce is more flexible and overall operational costs can be substantially reduced.

While it may reduce costs for some specialized roles in the oil and gas industry there can be no substitute for years of on the job experience.  Multiskilling will increase individual workloads and increase stress, and there may be a higher risk of accidents with employees that have limited experience and are unfamiliar with procedures.

Double Rainbow Over A Canadian RigMultiskilling will become a calculated risk the longer the downturn continues and cost reduction activities are needed.  Companies will need to practice restraint and be more cautious.  The problem is that cost efficiency measures will tend to continue despite future recovery.

As the experience drain continues a greater range of responsibilities are placed on oil and gas staff.  Hopefully overall cost savings from multiskilling are not lost to increases in incidents.

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