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High-Demand Jobs for Canada's Oil Patch Region

By Daisy Wright

Canadian Business recently reviewed 600 jobs tracked by Statistics Canada (StatCan), and selected the top 10 jobs in Canada that had the best combination of high wages and employment growth over the past five years.

By the way, these oil-patch jobs have nothing to do with the Keystone Pipeline project, which is currently a topic of political discussion in this U.S. election year.

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Among these are petroleum engineers, nursing supervisors, and electrical contractors. These three are highlighted below in order of demand:

1. Petroleum Engineer.

Yes, the oil sands area of Alberta is calling, and even during the recession 71% of oil patch employers were looking for petro engineers. Oil production in Canada is expected to grow at an alarming rate in the next seven years, and there won't be enough people to fill the projected job openings. Salaries start at $60,000, median $90,000, but one can expect a salary of approximately $300,000 if one is a senior specialist.

Requirements must include an engineering degree (with petroleum specialty), as well as the Professional Engineer (P. Eng) license.

2. Nursing Supervisor.

If you are a registered nurse (RN) having attained a four-year nursing degree, with at least five years of clinical experience, and post graduate studies in health administration, the future looks bright for you in Canada.

It is being projected that there will be a 30% shortage of RNs and nursing supervisors by 2020. The Canadian health administration industry awaits any RN with an interest in leadership, and an ability to balance the need for quality care and managing a hospital. The median salary is $74,880, but these professionals can earn more than $90,000 per year, and this makes the profession more attractive.

3. Electrical Contractor.

For individuals who enjoy autonomy, want more control over income and time, and are skilled at reading blueprints, this career could be a good choice. Power-line and cable workers, as well as electrical installers and repair technicians, can easily earn $74,000 per year.

There's a shortage of certified electricians, and job seekers are being encouraged to consider this field as a career alternative.

US Veterans Are Being Recruited

While all three of these professions are not necessarily connected to the oil industry, something interesting is happening in Western Canada that could benefit US Vets and Veterans of Foreign Wars. The Edmonton Economic Development Corporation, a city-run agency, has been proactively targeting US Vets through Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Vetjobs.com, to try to ease the shortage of skilled workers estimated to be 114,000 over the next decade.

The oil industry would definitely benefit from petroleum engineers and electrical contractors, and who knows, there could probably be opportunities for nursing supervisors. The point is that the labour shortage is being severely felt in the western provinces, and they are digging deep to find skilled professionals.

Although they are looking at Canadian workers first, since the talent pool is drying up, they are also looking south of the border.

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About this author...

A Certified Career Management Coach, Daisy Wright is Author of "No Canadian Experience, Eh? A Career Success Guide for New Immigrants."  She is also the founder of The Wright Career Solution, where she assists executives, managers, and other job-seeking professionals with their resumes, cover letters, social media profiles, and interview preparation. Daisy can be found blogging at Career Musings, hanging around in CareerTips2Go Cafe as the resident "Coach-on-Call," or tweeting as @CareerTips2Go and @NoCdnExperience.


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