Engineering the recovery

Apr 01, 2014

Alberta’s engineers have seen a five-fold increase in operating revenue since the turn of the century. In 2012, the latest year for which Statistics Canada has available data, the sector collected just over $9.9 billion. Operating expenses were $8.8 billion, leaving a healthy profit margin of 11.4%.

The graph below shows the meteoric rise in engineering services in Alberta since 1997. Perhaps even more notable is the sharp downturn in 2009 when the collapse in energy prices put the brakes on many Alberta energy projects, particularly in the oil sands. Engineering revenues fell nearly 15%.

Oil sands operations involve structural, mechanical, petroleum, environmental and geotechnical engineers, many of whom felt the effect of the economic downturn. But the energy sector is not the only source of revenue for Alberta’s engineers. The construction sector—particularly large commercial, industrial and institutional projects—also relies on engineers and helped contribute to the boost in engineering revenues over the last decade.

Fortunately, the 2009 downturn was short-lived. Revenues picked up almost immediately in 2010. While figures for last year are not available, Alberta’s busy economy most certainly sent revenues to even greater heights in 2013.

Alberta Engineering Services

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Post by Todd Hirsch • Chief Economist