Keeping people working

One thing about the ‘new’ oilpatch is that it’s much more of a 12-month scenario than it used to be. We heard this just recently from the owner of a service company, who said there hasn’t really been a ‘break-up,’ in the traditional sense, in the past three or four years.

The reason why, apparently, is that the shift to heavy oil production has resulted in wells being drilled and operated quite broadly across the landscape, meaning lots of them are on high and dry ground. Access to well sites used to be much more of a seasonal proposition – January through March being by far the busiest months of the year.

Not so any more, so there’s more work – or at least work spread out across the year.

In another industry, the great majority of the log haul used to take place during those same three or four coldest of the winter months. Bush access was again the main reason. It’s still probably busiest from mid-December through mid-March (or whenever it gets too warm), but some time ago the companies shifted a lot of their emphasis to shorter hauls, to bush storage sites that are easy to get to in spring and summer. That way, hauling work can continue through the warm months.

In both cases, it helps keep people working, which is generally what workers want. It’s also what the companies want, because laying people off means they might not be there when you need them the next season.

Either way, though, the consistent story from just about every industry is the never-ending challenge of finding and keeping good workers. If you know of any, there are quite a few employers that would like to hear from you.

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