What type of post-secondary education is better for obtaining positions in the oil & gas industry: university or college?

Both the colleges and universities offer many programs that can lead to careers in the oil & gas industry. Options for college include trades and technology programs. University options include geology, engineering, chemistry, physics and business. Sometimes, career paths for college and university graduates can lead to the same position, although the routes individuals take to get there may vary.

The Career Profiles  section of this website highlights examples of different career paths that university and college graduates have followed.

While opportunities exist for both college and university graduates, it is becoming increasingly difficult for individuals who don’t pursue post-secondary education or training to gain employment in the Newfoundland and Labrador oil & gas industry.

Will I have to leave Newfoundland and Labrador to get a job?

There are many people who have achieved their desired careers in the Newfoundland and Labrador oil & gas industry without having to leave the province. However, many others choose to leave to get the international experience that some jobs demand. Also, because the offshore is a very challenging environment, many people leave to get experience through entry-level positions elsewhere and then come back. In other cases, companies prefer to hire individuals who are willing to travel or may ask that individuals agree to work abroad or train for a specified period and then return to Newfoundland and Labrador to work. 

I am not interested in science or engineering. Can I still work in the industry?

The oil & gas industry requires a wide variety of skills, including accounting, marketing, finance, human resources, legal services and economics. People in these positions generally work onshore in support of the industry. For other examples, visit Career Categories.

Do I have to go offshore to work?

Approximately 50 percent of jobs related to the offshore oil & gas industry in Newfoundland and Labrador are onshore positions. Other positions require occasional trips offshore for specific projects or are located offshore. 

Where can I go to learn more about the industry?

Visit Our Industry section to learn more, or visit other websites listed under Helpful Links.

If there are only a few oil & gas companies here, how many jobs can there be?

Many of the jobs in the oil & gas industry are not with the oil companies that operate the offshore projects. Operators like Suncor Energy, Husky Energy or ExxonMobil Canada rely on contractors and subcontractors for engineering, communications, catering, etc.  Check out Explore Careers.

I am interested in traveling.  Where in the world could I work?

The oil & gas industry is global. Operations stretch from the Russian and Norwegian Arctic to the oil sands of Alberta and the offshore fields of Australia to the Gulf of Mexico. The oil & gas industry is an excellent career choice for people interested in seeing the world.

It seems that mostly men work in the oil & gas industry. Is the industry welcoming to women?

The oil & gas industry, like most other resource-based industries, is male-dominated, but the industry is working hard to attract qualified individuals from under-represented groups.

“Diversity” is a term commonly used in the industry to describe initiatives and programs aimed at promoting inclusive, respectful work environments where individuals can achieve their full potential.

Working to promote diversity also means working to ensure fair representation of the four groups designated under federal employment equity legislation: women, aboriginal peoples, visible minorities and persons with disabilities.

Companies are working with colleges and universities to promote non-traditional career opportunities, including skilled trades, to women and other groups. They are also implementing internal policies to ensure that work places better meet the needs of under-represented groups. Examples of such policies include employment equity programs, flexible work schedules, mentoring programs and child care initiatives.

Is the oil & gas industry environmentally responsible?

The oil & gas industry must be responsible when it comes to environmental protection. Learn more about how the industry is responding to important environmental issues like climate change, air and water protection and land use.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, since much of our oil & gas industry activity takes place offshore, operators and supply and service companies implement a number of safeguards to protect against offshore spills. For more information about how the industry works to prevent spills and how it would respond in the unlikely event of a spill, view this Spill Prevention & Response video.

Besides working to protect the environment, oil & gas companies are also involved in a variety of initiatives related to environmental research and sustainability. For some examples of such initiatives, visit the website of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP).

Is it safe to work offshore?

The safety of offshore workers is a top priority for the oil & gas industry. Operators adhere to strict health and safety requirements administered by regulators. Companies develop comprehensive health and safety plans before offshore activity is approved. They must ensure those programs are implemented and kept up to date.

Companies and the regulators audit health and safety programs and regularly inspect offshore work locations. If worker health or safety is considered at risk, the regulators can take a variety of actions, including stopping a company’s activity.

For more information on health and safety, visit the websites of the Canada–Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board or the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.