Job Opportunities for Newcomers
When Alain Champlain moved from Tumbler Ridge, B. C. to Fort McMurray in 2007 he had a job as a heavy equipment operator and accommodations in a camp.
When the economy slowed, he was laid off and he went back to B.C. In 2010, he decided to return to Fort McMurray even though he didn’t have a job waiting for him. When he arrived he looked for an employment office and found the Alberta Labour Market Information Centre (LMIC) where he found plenty of career resources. “They were very helpful,” he says. “And I was able to find work.”
Alain has no plans to leave Fort McMurray any time soon. “I hope to retire from my job here. The money is good and I want to be able to help my son who is studying to become a heavy duty mechanic.”
There are many job opportunities in Wood Buffalo. There are over a dozen operating oil sands companies as well as many more under construction, or in exploration, planning and engineering. There are also many jobs in industries other than oil sands and construction. These include all the support industries required for the oil sands operations as well as all the service industries required for a community of 100,000+ people.
Finding a job here is just like any anywhere else—it takes time and effort to find the right job.
There is a consistent and ongoing demand for engineers and engineering technologists, operations personnel for oil sands plants and various other petroleum industry experts. The demand for construction trades is also high, but demand depends on construction schedules. Demand for service sector workers—including health care, education and retail—is also consistently high.
Oil and Gas / Construction Jobs
Many of the jobs in Wood Buffalo are in the oil and gas/construction industry. Although the demand for workers decreased in 2008-2009 when the economy slowed down, the industry has picked back up, and now there are many oil sands projects that are under construction or are planned for construction across the region. These construction projects will need skilled tradespeople and engineers to help build them.
Oil sands construction projects are not the only construction projects going on in the region. Fort McMurray is a community of over 100,000 people which requires construction workers for the construction of houses, commercial and civil engineering projects and industrial development. These projects have meant more jobs for people in skilled trades, people in transportation and equipment operators and engineers.
- To see oil sands projects that are being built right now or are planned for construction visit the Oil Sands Project Report on Woodbuffalo.net.
- Employment in Oil and Gas
- Employment in Construction
- List of Companies
Service and Support Jobs
Oil and gas and construction jobs are not the only jobs here. There are also many different service and support jobs, including administration, retail, food services, hospitality, tourism, recreation, security and cleaning. Health care and education professionals are also in demand.
Finding Work in Wood Buffalo
There are many places to help you find a job in Wood Buffalo. There are services in the area available to help job seekers with their job search, resume writing and interviewing.
- Labour Market Information Centre (located in the Provincial Building, 9915 Franklin Avenue)
- Career and Employment Services (addresses and phone numbers for job search help in Wood Buffalo)
- Resources for Job Seekers (associations and unions, career planning tips, and much more for job seekers)
- Job Search Resources (job posting agencies and recruiters)
- List of Employer Websites
- List of Union Websites
- List of Companies
Wages in Wood Buffalo
Wages for most jobs are higher in Wood Buffalo than in other areas of Alberta. However, just like anywhere else, if workers don't have the experience and/or education that companies are looking for they may need to work their way up, or get some training and experience before getting the high-paying job they want.
When looking at wages in the region remember that the cost of living is higher in Wood Buffalo, so even though you may be paid more than in other areas, you also have to pay more to live here. Read more in Cost of Living.