Oil Jobs: Striking It Rich

As the price of oil has gone up, reservoirs that were not economically viable in the past are now attractive to smaller, independent producers. Both the smaller and bigger companies are looking to hire more than a few good men and women. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects for petroleum engineers are excellent — better than for most other types of engineers. New petroleum engineers are being recruited to replace aging employees and to fill rising demand.

The Society of Petroleum Engineers conducted a salary survey, which indicated a worldwide median base pay of USD $137,361, with a median total compensation of USD $167,000 (mean total compensation was much higher at USD $203,557.) Historically the figure rises year to year by 4-6%.

Some work regions that have stood out for having the greatest average pay:

  • the United States
  • Canada
  • Australia/New Zealand, and
  • North Sea/North Atlantic

The two regions with the lowest average pay were Northern and Central Asia and Southeast Asia.

The average annual increase in base pay was reported as 6.5% overall. The work region with the highest increase is South America, Caribbean & Mexico, at 7.5%, while South Central & Eastern Europe was lowest with 4.8%.

See the SPE 2013 Salary Survey here. Most American companies operate overseas, and it’s important to note that citizenship concerns don’t preclude workers from pursuing opportunities abroad.

Starting salaries and salaries for experienced professionals have been rising dramatically for several years and continue to trend up.

The American Association of Petroleum Geologists conducted its own survey here are some their findings:

  • Pay for Geoscientists enjoyed a weighted average increase of 9.45 percent.
  • The average salary for people with 3-5 years experience is just over $107,000.
  • Demand for new Geoscientists continues to rise. The shortage is a big reason why salaries keep going up – dramatically.
  • Geoscientists frequently receive retention bonuses designed to stop ‘job hopping.’
  • The average salary of a Geoscientist with 0-2 years of experience is $82,800.
  • Those with a B.S. degree and 0-2 years of experience make earn an average of $72,300 while those with an M.A. and the same experience earn $86,600.

Note: these figures rise every year. Key Point: Geoscientists earn good money and the jobs are plentiful.

About 20 universities in the United States offer degrees in petroleum engineering. But those universities can’t supply enough new graduates each year to satisfy the demand. For good students, future employment is virtually assured.

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College Degrees For The Petroleum Industry