Opportunities Abound in the Natural Gas and Oil Industry
Posted July 16, 2018
The numbers are in – the natural gas and oil industry leads all other sectors in compensation for U.S. workers, according to an analysis by Bloomberg. As an industry, we take pride in providing well-paying careers and opportunities for individuals and families, offering support for communities and driving local and national economies. So we’ll gladly accept Bloomberg’s verdict: “the best bet for U.S. workers.”
“Spurred partly by the shale boom, the median pay for energy workers last year was $123,000, according to data newly mandated by the U.S. That topped all sectors, including utilities, tech and health care.”
Beyond providing most of the energy that heats our homes, powers our factories and businesses, and gets Americans to school and work, natural gas and oil support 10.3 million American jobs. Moreover, non-retail station jobs in the natural gas and oil industry pay an average annual wage of over $100,000 — nearly $50,000 more than the U.S. average.
And while it’s easy to assume, as Bloomberg does, that “a reliance on geologists, petroleum engineers and other highly skilled, well compensated professionals” is the reason behind this “paycheck potency,” that’s only part of the story.
Almost without exception, across all education levels, degree majors, gender and race/ethnicity groups, and occupation types, those who work in the natural gas and oil industry earn more than those who do not. A look at the average wages for various subsets of the natural gas and oil industry and you can see just how diverse industry opportunities are:
*Based on hourly $7.25 wage times 40 hours per week
Source: U.S. Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages 2018
Yes, the connecting thread between good industry careers and the men and women who will fill them is mainly education – specifically, education in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. But STEM careers are not just for the highly educated. Many good paying STEM positions in our industry require just a high school diploma or an associate degree and some on-the-job training.
Because of changing workforce demographics, there will be significant opportunities for women, African-Americans, Hispanics and younger workers within the industry — hundreds of thousands of whom are projected to fill 1.9 million new job opportunities by 2035 as upwards of 40 percent of industry’s worker base gets set to retire. This new wave of workers will serve to foster the innovation, collaboration and ideas needed for growth in the natural gas and oil industry.
And these opportunities aren’t going anywhere. We know that natural gas and oil power the U.S. economy and empower Americans’ lives today and will continue to do so tomorrow. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) 2018 Annual Energy Outlook shows natural gas and oil supply more than 65 percent of the energy we use today, and projects they will supply more than 65 percent of our energy in 2040:
America’s natural gas and oil needs will continue to drive the need for engineers, scientists, analysts, gas and oilfield crews and more, for decades to come.
About The Author
Jessica Lutz is a writer for the American Petroleum Institute. Jessica joined API after 10+ years leading the in-house marketing and communications for non-profits and trade associations. A Michigan native, Jessica graduated from The University of Michigan with degrees in Communications and Political Science. She resides in London, and spends most of her free time trying to keep up with her energetic Giant Schnauzer, Jackson.
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