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New API study Millennials are major players in the oil and natural gas workforce


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WASHINGTON, January 18, 2018 – Millennials are seeking work in the natural gas and oil industry at increasing rates and will account for nearly 41 percent of the workforce – a 20 percent increase – by 2025, according to a new IHS Markit study commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute. 

“Harnessing the energy, technological prowess and the innovative spirit of the next generation will be critical to achieving progress on societal and environmental goals and delivering energy reliably and affordably for decades to come,” said API President and CEO Jack Gerard. “The natural gas and oil industry projects more than 1.9 million new job opportunities by 2035, which provide significant opportunities for the industry to recruit and retain talent in the millennial and rising generation.” 

In 2015, millennials accounted for more than one third of the natural gas and oil industry workforce, a nearly identical percentage to the overall U.S. economy at 35 percent. The study concluded that millennials are choosing to work for the natural gas and oil industry at increasing rates, on par with other industries.  Another factor is that average annual pay of the natural gas and oil industry is nearly $50,000 higher than the 2016 U.S. average according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data and those who are educated in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) earn the highest salaries.

The study also finds that millennials as a group are more diverse and better educated than previous generations, which provides an opportunity for the natural gas and oil industry to tap a broader range of skills, intellect, creativity and perspectives.

Study highlights include:

  • 45 percent of Millennials in 2016 were Hispanic, African American or from some other minority group, compared to one-third of Gen-Xers and 22 percent of Baby Boomers at a corresponding age           
  • About 66 percent of Millennials age 25-34 in 2016 have had at least some college coursework, compared with 56 percent of Gen-Xers at a corresponding age and 45 percent of Baby Boomers.
  • Nearly 50 percent of working Millennials are employed in professional, technical, and service occupations compared to 33 percent of GenXers and 30 percent of Baby Boomers at the same age. 

“Millennials today have unique characteristics that will help forge the innovations and breakthroughs in energy only imagined today,” added Gerard. “By harnessing this generation’s unshakable confidence in a better future and use of technology, the industry is positioned well to address tomorrow’s greatest challenges.”

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 10.3 million U.S. jobs and nearly 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 625 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 40 million Americans.