Booming careers in oil and gas: Oil & Gas Industry update, 2014

Booming careers in oil and gas: Oil & Gas Industry update, 2014

On-going innovation and technological advancements in drilling have made it possible to produce increased yields in oil and natural gas which were unreachable earlier. The shale gas boom has led to a surge in the production of oil and natural gas, making a deep economic impact, and fuelling fierce competition in recruitment for oil and gas talent around the world.

The work is complex and exploration requires senior employees with high capabilities. As companies increasingly compete with one another to attract the right people from a limited talent pool, jobseekers are set to be the biggest gainers. Worldwide, the oil and gas sector needs to recruit 120,000 new employees at present. Employment of petroleum engineers alone is set to increase by 17% between 2010 and 2020.

There are a number of lucrative opportunities available to experienced workers. As competitive offers increase, most employers recognize the necessity of offering better salary packages to their current and potential employees.

In addition, the sector offers unparalleled opportunities for living and working in different parts of the world. According to Paul Caplan, President of Rigzone: “Oil and gas professionals have always understood the potential for travel and foreign postings that this global industry offers. The decision now is not so much where in the world energy professionals wish to base their career, but how many locations will they choose during their careers.”

Profiles, positions, salaries

Use of new technology to enhance oil recovery reduces the cost of finding and producing oil and gas, and gives oil fields a longer productive life. But it requires experienced and highly specialized personnel, demand for whom is on the rise.

At today’s estimates, the oil and gas industry will need personnel for decades to come – personnel with the relevant skills and qualifications, who are motivated, adaptable, have good communication and IT skills, and are raring to become part of a highly efficient team.


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The process of finding and extracting oil and gas involves many different functions:


They analyze geological information from many sources, including rock or sediment samples and aerial photographs. Specialized in fields such as engineering, mine, petroleum, exploration, and environmental protection geology, geoscientists conduct field studies or surveys to determine whether oil or gas is present and if so, in what quantities.



They use seismic data to reconstruct the subsurface configuration to locate possible sites of oil traps. The geologist will work closely with the geophysicist.



They interpret seismic data and build up the picture of the subsurface by using their knowledge of past changes in the earth’s structure.

Petroleum engineers

They focus on a range of issues associated with oil and gas extraction. Common occupations include reservoir, drilling, completions, and production engineers. Reservoir engineers estimate the most appropriate locations for production wells to be drilled to ensure optimum recovery of oil and gas. Drilling engineers determine the best way to drill an oil or gas well while ensuring that the drilling process is safe, minimally disruptive to the environment, and efficient.

Petroleum Engineers

Other engineers

There’s a whole range of engineers working in the oil and gas industries – including industrial, mechanical, civil, environmental, chemical, and electrical engineers. Their tasks vary but they often work together on teams with other types of engineers, helping to solve problems related to resource extraction.

Other Engineers

Mud loggers

Usually a geologist too, a mud logger will inspect and test the drilling fluid, mud and debris from the well. They scour for traces of oil and the different types of rock samples from the well to build up a picture of the subsurface.

Mud Loggers


They are responsible for the drilling team and for controlling the rate and continuity of drilling. This is a highly skilled position as the drill may have to penetrate many different types of rock.


Occupations Average salary
Petroleum engineers $126,240
Geoscientists, except hydrologists and geographers $118,820
Mining and geological engineers, including mining safety engineers $83,590
Rotary drill operators, oil and gas $51,350
Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators $41,510
General and operations managers $111,070
First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers $68,050


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Geographies to target

Countries with the highest oil production in the world:

  • Saudi Arabia: 10,520,000 barrels daily
  • Russia: 10,270,000 barrels daily
  • United States: 9,688,000 barrels daily
  • Iran: 4,252,000 barrels daily
  • China: 4,073,000 barrels daily

Major companies throughout Asia have found it difficult to attract qualified candidates for various roles. It is especially challenging to hire experienced and influential individuals in senior roles such as those of CEOS, as the knowledge pool available in the market is shrinking.

A Rigzone survey conducted in 2013 listed Dubai, Calgary and Denver as the top 3 cities in the world favored by oil and gas professionals. The other cities on the list tended to be in Asia, with Singapore, Jakarta, Mumbai and Kuala Lumpur all taking their places among the top 10. Cairo in Egypt was the tenth most preferred city to live and work.


Dubai is the most desired work location in the world for oil and gas professionals. Salaries in the sector have surged, so much so, that Hays recruitment found that this sector was responsible for creating more wealth than any other economic sector in the country. Salaries, too, reflect this trend. Employers are known to pay as much as US $147K per year to qualified, experienced professionals. Payscale surveys show that Baker Hughes salaries in Dubai range from $19K to $88K, McDermott International pays between $55K and $120K, GASCO pays between $32K and $65K, Shell Oil Company pays $29K to $147K to employees, even as employees of Weatherford International take home anywhere between $33K and $80K per year.

Dubai, UAE

United States

Crude production in the US has risen by more than 50% in the past 5 years, and demand for drilling operations far exceeds the current supply of talent. Oil and natural gas companies in the U.S. are recruiting civil, mechanical and electrical engineers alongside project managers, as these roles will be increasingly required, going forward. Health and safety positions are trending. There is also a high demand for asset integration in team lead positions.

New York City, USA


China is developing an energy pipeline that will feed the growth of its economy. The country has oil and gas interests in Kazakhstan, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Venezuela, Peru and Azerbaijan, and offers attractive packages to experienced candidates willing to work in any of these locations.



Australia is a major global player in the LNG sector, and there is sustained demand for project managers, technical specialists, and professionals in health and safety roles. Workers with operational experience, offshore maritime personnel and construction supervisors are in demand. As Australian oil and gas companies work towards completion of billion-dollar LNG projects between 2016 and 2018, the need for talent is only set to escalate. Australia is increasingly attracting European talent – particularly from the UK – to work in this field. British engineering qualifications are recognized by the Australian government, making it easy for professionals to make the leap.

Sydney, Australia

United Kingdom

Forecasts predict that over the next 25 years, the industry expects to make 130 new discoveries, and 240 new developments in the UK. With about 18,000 people working offshore on fixed production platforms, mobile drilling rigs, or floating production storage and offloading units (FPSOs), there is big demand for asset integrity management roles – particularly, technical safety and risk, geoscience disciplines, drilling, chemical, field and process engineers across oil and gas service companies in the UK.

London, UK


The demand for oil and gas workers in Brazil is consistently high as the region is steadily becoming a significant area of business. The number of candidates placed in the Gulf of Mexico remains high, and this trend will continue in 2014.

Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, South America

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