The days of big cash for little experience have disappeared as quickly as they came.
Hopes to strike it rich in the oil rigs are no longer realistic, with the price of crude plummeting and the economy slipping further downhill.
Keith Winters, who is on a rig near Fox Creek, says it’s not the place for someone straight out of high school to be looking for work.
“The opportunities are definitely passing,” he said, adding that he’s seen a lot of people laid off or temporarily out of work. He has buddies sitting at home, calling around and hoping for work, he said.
Winters figures those with no experience have “zero chance.”
But he also says it’s an acquired lifestyle and work is not always guaranteed, though he doesn’t feel his own job is in jeopardy since the company he works for is doing well and has promised to send him for rig technician classes in March.
Bob Schulz, professor of strategic management at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, is also the Petroleum Land Management Director.
He said young folks looking to break into the industry should consider going to school and getting some education in the field first.
“In two years I expect it to go back up to where it was in the last couple of years,” Schulz said. “The question is, ‘What do you do for the next two years?’”
With 16,000 layoffs in the industry and more feared ahead, the guys who have been smart about it have money set aside that they can use to upgrade their education, he said.
However, if they’ve blown it all on momentary delights, they might end up polishing their resume or ending up at mom and dad’s house.
“This is a really good time for people to rethink their life,” Schulz said.