Global survey of oil industry staff shows region is one of most optimistic on salaries
Oil workers are enjoying strong growth in pay thanks, in particular, to a shortage of engineers, a trend that shows no sign of easing.
Data released by oilcareers.com this week showed some 63 percent of oil industry employees working in the Middle East expected an increase, one of the highest percentages of all world regions.
Oilcareers.com invited 170,000 oil and gas professionals from 50 countries to take part in its survey which was conducted in conjunction with industry consultant Air Energi.
Some 71 percent of respondents in Asia and Australia expected contract and salary pay to rise further. In the Americas the figure was 56 percent, and in the former Soviet Union and the Caspian it was 60 percent. Some 63 percent expected an increase in the Middle East.
The labour market looked calmer in Africa and Europe, with 47 percent in both regions expecting a rise, although only 8 percent predicted a fall in Europe and 15 percent saw a downturn in Africa.
The survey also found Europe lagging other regions when it comes to the training that is crucial to maintaining a future supply of skilled workers.
Executives at the Offshore Northern Seas conference said finding the right talent to keep the industry healthy was becoming a huge headache, especially in North America where the shale gas boom has taken off.
"There are not enough people in the US to fuel this beast," said Robert Potter, vice president of FMC Technologies, a manufacturer of drilling equipment.
"Being able to bring the labour on board to support what we see in the future - that is what keeps me awake at night. That is the biggest challenge we face."
Oil and gas recently overtook the troubled banking sector as Britain's best paid industry with average pay of £64,000 ($101,000), oilcareers.com said, adding the hydrocarbons sector needed to improve its image among students.
Meanwhile in Norway, where rates for locals are the highest in the world, according to a February survey by employment group Hays, on average an oil worker earns $180,300.
The shortage is such that the population of industry workers is ageing fast, according to Mark Guest, managing director of oilcareers.com "Skilled engineers are being dragged back into the industry and retirements deferred," he said. "It is a very, very competitive market."
The new survey suggested the trends outlined in the Hays February data were intact.
Hays said that from over 14,000 respondents among the industry's employees, almost 50 per cent won rises of more than 5 per cent to their salary, compared with just under 30 percent in its 2011 survey.