Canadian Oil Draws World-Wide Mix of Workers - by Frank Langfitt, NPR
Companies find it difficult, however, to lure capable workers to a place where temperatures can plunge to 40 below zero. They offer employee incentives, like on-site work camps with steak dinners and satellite TV. The camp at Canadian Natural Resources has a Tim Horton's, Canada's wildly popular coffee chain.
"Some of our competition are offering signing bonuses in the order of $20,000 Canadian ($18,000 U.S.) …," says Neil Camarta, a project manager at Petro-Canada. "Some companies are offering an incentive package where, if you stay a couple of years, you get a bonus then, which may be in the range of $50,000 to $100,000."
Competition to find housing in Fort McMurray is just as fierce. The influx of workers has driven the rental vacancy rate to less than 0.3 percent. Mobile homes can run as high as $300,000.