Great senior employee communications jobs don't come up very often. But there's an excellent opportunity in Alberta right now -- a career-making position with one of Canada's leading energy companies.
My former employer and current client Suncor Energy needs a manager of employee communications for its biggest business unit, its Oil Sands division in Fort McMurray with about 3,000 employees. A colleague at Suncor has asked me to help identify potential candidates.
It's a dream job in many ways:
• There's lots of growth and change - Suncor is doubling its production in the next three years, which means all kinds of growth projects with plenty of great stories to tell.
• Many employees are nearing retirement at the same time as there are hundreds of new positions to fill, so there's a big push to engage, retain and recruit, which means a big need to communicate with employees -- and lots of support from management.
• Suncor has a great communications team. I know them, and I can say this from personal experience.
• There's an opportunity to lead -- the position has three direct reports and there's room to innovate.
• The company is financially healthy and there's competitive pay, stock options and an annual bonus.
• Benefits are excellent, including personal time off days in addition to vacations and stat holidays.
For someone who's been working in employee communications for ten or more years who wants to take his or her career to a whole new level, this truly is a dream job.
The only sticking point: it's based in Fort McMurray, a booming city of 79,000 in Northern Alberta. That's about a four-hour drive north of Edmonton, which means it's fairly remote and has long, cold winters. The city is struggling as it copes with all the growth that's come with the booming energy economy, but it's got lots of pluses - it's a great place to raise a family with a huge new rec centre and lots of outdoor activities.
From my point of view, the remoteness only adds to the opportunity. Fort McMurray is a place with enormous potential. I have a cousin who moved there many years ago as a young lawyer and became a crown prosecutor and now he's a judge. His wife worked part time at the community college and is now a full-time professor. Neither of them would have achieved as much in their careers if they had settled in a big city. And there are many more stories like that, of folks who have come from everywhere to make great lives for themselves and their families.
But it's got to be the right person. You need to be able to move, so it might not work if you have teenage kids, ailing parents or a spouse who isn't mobile. The thing is, if your spouse has any marketable skills there would be plenty of opportunities for him or her, too.
[Edit - Plus, as an FYA reader quickly pointed out in the comments to this post, there are big environmental issues associated with oil sands development that add complexity to any communication role in the energy industry. Suncor is known as a responsible operator and has built a reputation as an environmental leader. But there's no question that its operations have an impact on the environment, and the industry has plenty of critics. For an employee communicator, this adds to the challenge -- and to the opportunity to make a difference.]
So, if you are interested, or know anyone who is interested in this opportunity, call me at 604-694-6037 and I'll tell you more. Here's a link to the detailed position description: Download manager_oil_sands_communications.doc.