Alberta’s longest post-war recession has sliced 6.5 per cent from its GDP over the past two years and kicked off an exodus of people, but it has been especially painful for the province’s geoscience community, the backbone of the oil and gas industry.
The recession has pushed up the provincial unemployment rate to 7.9 per cent, but for geologists and geophysicists, the jobless rate is closer to 50 per cent, and industry leaders say prospects are dim for the next two or three years.
“We are looking at another lost generation of geoscientists,” said Marian Hanna, president of the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists (CSEG), who has been unemployed for a year.
“It is a significant loss and unfortunately Alberta, (and) Canada, are going to experience a brain drain,” she said, noting many are leaving the province or the profession altogether, while enrolment in geoscience programs in universities has fallen off due to lack of work.
The CSEG has lost about half its membership, which peaked at about 2,400 members, she said. Other geoscience professionals are experiencing similar jobless rates, said Hanna, who was the president of a geophysical service provider until she was let go.
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