Oilpatch too busy to talk about labour crunch

The Petroleum Services Association of Canada is offering some valuable advice on how to cope with the labour crunch. But officials with some under-staffed oilpatch companies may be too busy to hear it.

The Petroleum Services Association of Canada is offering some valuable advice on how to cope with the labour crunch. But officials with some under-staffed oilpatch companies may be too busy to hear it.

This Catch-22 scenario could explain why registrations for PSAC’s 2012 Spring Conference in Red Deer is down from last year, said association president Mark Salkeld.

“It’s because they’re busy. That’s the number 1 factor we can see, is that it’s really, really busy out there.”

Those who do attend the April 17 and 18 conference will find a wealth of human resources information, promised Salkeld. Sessions will look at retention strategies for a multi-generational workforce, recruitment from within and outside Canada, interviewing skills, effective training strategies, preparing for the loss of baby boom employees, Employment Standards and Human Rights requirements, and using social media to find workers, among other topics.

“It’s always kind of geared toward HR for the folks that are on the front lines of those issues with our member companies,” said Salkeld. “But there is a stronger focus this year, without a doubt, because of our labour concerns.”

Among the initiatives PSAC has been pushing in response are recruitment of underutilized workers from other Canadian industries, government recognition of the skills of foreign tradespeople, and tapping into the labour pools of other countries with a history of oil and gas development.

In addition to labour issues, PSAC’s Spring Conference will delve into such areas as transportation, time management, financial training, employee discipline, performance management, team motivation, conflict resolution and fraud prevention. PSAC is also organizing a Risk Management Seminar for April 16 — the day before the Spring Conference begins.

A motivation for this seminar are the increasingly common and complex “master service agreements” that service companies are being required to sign. Some have the legal resources to deal with them, but many others do not, said Salkeld.

“To sign an MSA without really appreciating all of the legalities of it — you could end up losing your company and your livelihood and employees,” he said.

“There are some real intricacies,” Salkeld added, suggesting that the growing presence of American companies here has contributed to this development.

The keynote speaker at the April 17 dinner will be Sylvia Yaeger, who will discuss strategies for reducing stress.

PSAC’s 2012 Spring Conference and Risk Management Seminar will be held at the Sheraton Red Deer Hotel (formerly the Capri Centre). Additional information about both, including how to register, can be found on the PSAC website at www.psac.ca (click on Events and go to PSAC Events). Early bird registration rates are available until March 19.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

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