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Job Demand and Pay

Nearly 1.9 million direct job opportunities are projected to be available in the oil and gas and petrochemical industries through 2035. These jobs are available across a wide range of occupations requiring a variety of skills and education. Opportunities will be available based on the continued growth in the industry, implementation of accelerated development policies, additional investment in infrastructure and replacement of retiring workers. This section contains more information on the number and location of jobs in the oil and gas industry, where typical salary information can be found, and where future job growth is expected.

Number of Jobs in the Oil and Gas Industry by Occupation

The Veterans Energy Pipeline website analyzed 84 occupations in the oil and gas industry and organized them into 12 job categories. Employment figures showing current and projected growth in the industry use a slightly different occupational categorization. A key difference between the two is that the Veterans Energy Pipeline job categories break out Skilled Blue Collar and Semi-Skilled Blue Collar occupations by function, for example, Construction and Extraction or Installation, Maintenance and Repair. The chart below shows direct employment in the oil and gas industry in 2015 by occupational category, ranging from managerial to unskilled blue collar. The categories employing the most workers are skilled and semi-skilled blue collar occupations. Examples of specific occupations included in the categories are:

Number of Jobs by Occupation (2010)
  • Management, Business and Financial: General and Operations Managers, Construction Managers, Engineering Managers, Cost Estimators, Accountants and Auditors
  • Professional and Related: Architects, Surveyors, Engineers (Civil, Electrical, Mechanical, Petroleum), Drafters, Civil Engineering Technicians, Geoscientists
  • Service: Security Guards, Janitors and Building Cleaners
  • Sales and Related: Sales Representatives
  • Office and Administrative Support: Bookkeepers, Accounting and Auditing Clerks, Secretaries, Administrative Assistants, First Line Supervisors of Office and Admin Staff
  • Skilled Blue Collar: Carpenters, Electricians, Plumbers, Construction Equipment Operators, Industrial Machinery Mechanics, Mobile Heavy Equipment Mechanics, Refinery Operators, Pump and Wellhead Operators
  • Semi-Skilled Blue Collar: Welders, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers, Truck Drivers (Heavy and Tractor Trailer), Excavating and Loading Machine and Dragline Operators, Helpers-Extraction Workers
  • Unskilled Blue Collar: Construction Laborers, Fence Erectors, Freight, Stock and Material Movers (Hand)
Number of Jobs by Geographic Region (2010)

Jobs in the Oil and Gas Industry by Geographic Region

Jobs in the oil and gas industry are located across the United States, but most are located where the natural resources are found. As shown in the pie chart, in 2015, the majority of oil and gas industry jobs were located in the West South Central Region, followed by the West North Central and Mountain regions.

Typical Pay/Salaries for Jobs in the Oil and Gas Industry

Average Annual Wages in Oil and Natural Gas Industry (2014)

Jobs in the oil and natural gas industry offer good benefits, high pay, and the opportunity to make a difference. The U.S. Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages calculated average annual wages in the oil and natural gas industry in 2015 to be $101,853, nearly double the average U.S. annual figure of $52,876.  The bar chart at right shows those figures, as well as average annual wages by industry segment. Salary information can be found for specific occupations related to the oil and gas industry in the following places:

  • On this website, salary information can be found in the results of the career search by military occupations. When you conduct a career search by a military occupational code, the results will display the civilian careers (ex, Electrician), along with typical wages and other information.
  • In the Oil & Gas Career Guide
  • Department of Labor websites:

Projected Job Growth in the Oil and Gas Industry

Projected Number of New Jobs by Source from 2010 - 2030

Nearly 1.9 million job opportunities are projected in the oil and gas and petrochemical industries through 2035 across a wide range of occupations and in all regions of the country. Veterans represent a critically vital and available talent pool to help meet the demands of the projected growth and expansion. The projected opportunities are based on four sources of growth between 2015 and 2035.

  • Generally expected job growth
  • Job growth as a result of more accelerated development of the upstream oil and gas industry
  • Job growth created by projected capital investment in the transportation and storage infrastructure of oil and gas and petrochemical industry
  • Replacement workers for those who retire or leave the oil and gas and petrochemical industries

Projected Job Growth by Occupation

The projected job opportunities are broken out by occupation category in the chart below. The highest demand for available jobs will be in the skilled and semi-skilled blue collar sectors, with over 960,000 jobs in those two categories alone. This includes carpenters, electricians, mechanics, plumbers, truck drivers, welders, and heavy equipment operators.

Projected Job Growth by Occupation (2010-2030)