Oil and natural gas industry professionals in the United States are the sixth best compensated in the world, according to an annual report by the Australian consulting firm Hays plc and Oil and Gas Job Search (OGJS), an industry jobs website.

“The industry is taking positive steps in increasing pay and benefits that will keep the U.S.A. competitive on the world stage, but there is still some way to go to stop a drain of talent to overseas markets,” said Hays Managing Director Matt Underhill.

The local average annual salary at oil and gas companies in the United States totaled $121,400, a decrease compared with $124,000 in last year’s report (see Daily GPI, Feb. 9, 2012) and slightly less than in Canada ($123,000). The highest average industry salary is found in Australia ($163,600), followed by Norway ($152,600), New Zealand ($127,600), Netherlands ($123,800) and Canada, according to the report.

Meanwhile, imported oil and gas professionals in the United States are earning an average $123,800, according to OGJS, which found the highest levels of pay for expatriots in Australia ($171,000), the Philippines ($170,000) and Trinidad ($168,800).

The salary guide, which based its figures on survey responses from more than 25,000 industry professionals across the globe, found that bonuses are the dominant mechanism by which companies attract and retain talent. On average, bonuses account for a further 5.9% of employees’ overall compensation package, and almost two-thirds of respondents said they receive some kind of benefit or allowance on top of their basic salary.

Employer confidence in increasing staffing levels during 2013 remains high, according to the survey, which found that 25% of employers expect staffing levels to increase by more than 10% this year, and almost 75% anticipate some level of increase.

Skill shortages are the major concern of industry employers, according to the survey. More than 37% of those responding said their main concern was skill shortages; economic instability (25%) was second, followed by environmental concerns (11.8%).

In a separate report issued Tuesday, the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO) found that the domestic oil and natural gas industry paid a national annualized wage of $107,200 last year, 119% more than the average private sector wage of $48,900 “and higher than average wages for construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, information, professional services, health care, financial services and education services.”

The U.S. oil and gas industry employed 971,200 people in the first half of 2012, up 7% from 2011, and had a payroll of $104 billion, a 12% increase from 2011. Texas led the nation in oil and gas jobs with 379,800 people employed in the industry, according to TIPRO.

Last year a Schlumberger Business Consulting (SBC) survey found that the challenges of developing oil and gas resources in unconventional plays and in the deepwater have raised the bar for geosciences and petroleum engineering professionals and heightened the importance of human resource management at exploration and production companies (see Daily GPI, March 12, 2012). An outflow of more than 22,000 senior key geoscientists and petroleum engineers will occur by 2015, according to SBC researchers.

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