Marketing the Petroleum Handling Industry to New Workers by Mike Christie

Through the recent development of the Petroleum Equipment Service Technician and Installer program, I was quite surprised by the amount of time and resources spent discussing ways to ‘market’ our industry to prospective employees. The idea of marketing being an important part of what is the hiring process was quite revolutionary to me.

This started the thought process that was “What do we have to market? Why work for our industry” and even “Why do I continue to work in this industry” and my conclusion was this: Nine years ago after fifteen years in the upstream oil exploration and construction industry I took a significant pay reduction (- 70%) to begin entry level as a Petroleum Service Technician and Installer. The benefits of having a routine work week, opportunity to boost technical skills, and secure steady employment, far outweighed the loss in income. As I was able to prove that my previously learned skills were transferrable, my income increased and advancement was rapid. Nine years later, I have yet to go home early, send someone home early due to lack of work, have yet to lay off an employee and have continued to see growth every year.

My reasoning behind publishing this article was to remind our fellow contractors that their reasons for being in this business in the first place are quite attractive to prospective employees. Do not sell short the fact that environmental requirements, demand for energy, and the value of our products will insure stability and security for years to come. The opportunity to secure a trade which may have you working in many different environments, high on the technical level (computers, networking, electronics) and high on the trades level(construction, pipe-fitting, welding, electrical) appeals to both the mental and physical interests of a lot of employees.

Take a close analysis of your firm and determine what unique opportunities you offer, get the word out about what advantages your team has over other industries. Money and high salaries are a motivator, however by no means are they the only motivator, particularly in an age where our younger generation has been heard repeating the mantra “time and quality of life is more valuable than money”.

Mike Christie
BC Petroleum Contractors Association