Top Oil and Gas Occupations for 2012

In this post we want to give some background on the mining, oil, and gas sector and discuss some of the top employment opportunities for 2012.

OVERVIEW

The “mining sector” (a.k.a. Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction, NAICS 21) is one of the fastest-growing/highest-paying broad industry categories in the country. Since 2008, it has grown by 8% and added 100,000 new jobs. Average industry earnings are nearly $80,000 per year, and while other sectors have much bigger employment numbers (e.g., health care added 960,000 new jobs and finance added 470,000 new jobs in the same time period), few can rival the sector’s large multiplier (5.96 multiplier at the 2-digit level). Essentially, each job here will create nearly five more across other sectors. NOTE: We calculated that number by hand, so it is not included in the screen shot below.

About 1.3 million people are currently employed by mining, oil and gas activities. The most common demographic is men between the ages of 25 and 64.

For the purposes of this piece, “mining sector” refers specifically to oil and gas extraction, because these two sub-industries are the ones driving the growth. When we break the sector down into its component parts (see the table below), we see that oil and gas extraction (NAICS 2111) grew by 17% and 96,000 jobs, support activities for mining (NAICS 2131) increased by 3% and 10,000 jobs, and coal mining (NAICS 2121) increased by 6% and 5,000 jobs. Metal ore mining (NAICS 2122) and quarrying (NAICS 2123) actually declined by 2% and 7% respectively.

NAICS Code Description 2008 Jobs 2011 Jobs Change % Change 2011 Earnings 2011 Establishments
2111 Oil and Gas Extraction 574,901 670,849 95,948 17% $74,340 9,335
2121 Coal Mining 88,079 93,304 5,225 6% $94,410 1,287
2122 Metal Ore Mining 47,125 46,408 (717) (2%) $91,545 420
2123 Nonmetallic Mineral Mining and Quarrying 126,677 117,330 (9,347) (7%) $63,995 5,912
2131 Support Activities for Mining 374,503 384,524 10,021 3% $83,048 15,316
Total 1,211,284 1,312,415 101,131 8% $78,002 32,270
Source: EMSI Complete Employment – 2011.4 BETA

STATE-BY-STATE COMPARISON

Here are the big Es on the eye chart:

  1. Biggest EmployersTexas and Oklahoma employ the most (431,000 and 105,000 respectively). After these, Louisiana (74K), California (58K), Colorado (52K), Pennsylvania (50K), West Virginia (43K), Kansas (34K) and Wyoming (33K) are the next largest in terms of employment.
  2. Highest-PayingAlaska’s 19,000 workers have the highest average earnings, $122K per year. This is followed by Massachusetts and Texas, which are both at about $100K per year. (Most notable here is the fact that Texas is, as we’ve just seen, the largest employer to boot.) Other states with relatively high average earnings (above 80K per year) are Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, California, Louisiana and Nevada.
  3. Most Concentrated – Employment in the mining/oil/gas sector is 11 times greater in Wyoming than the typical state. Other states with higher concentrations are Oklahoma, West Virginia Alaska, North Dakota, Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Kansas.
  4. Fastest-Growing – Since 2007, employment growth in North Dakota’s mining sector was 200%. The state also has a relatively high concentration of mining/oil/gas jobs. NOTE: Other states are also experiencing a lot of growth, but don’t really have much concentration (e.g., RI and D.C.), which means that mining is not really a significant employer in the region. States like Arkansas, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Texas and California all have higher concentrations of mining and experienced employment growth over 40% since 2007. One final note: Texas added 133,000 mining jobs since 2007, and the next closest state is Oklahoma with about 30,000 jobs.

The table below ranks the states according to their 5-year growth:

State 2007 Jobs 2012 Jobs 5 Year Growth % Growth 2011 Average Earnings 2011 LQ
Texas (TX) 313,502 446,402 132,900 42% $99,618 3.96
Oklahoma (OK) 80,725 109,587 28,862 36% $69,190 6.47
Pennsylvania (PA) 32,636 50,697 18,061 55% $68,419 0.92
California (CA) 43,667 61,078 17,411 40% $80,860 0.39
Colorado (CO) 38,740 52,556 13,816 36% $86,837 2.18
Louisiana (LA) 62,253 75,735 13,482 22% $80,179 3.85
North Dakota (ND) 6,352 19,210 12,858 202% $85,422 4.67
Kansas (KS) 23,462 35,996 12,534 53% $40,096 2.54
West Virginia (WV) 35,012 43,461 8,449 24% $73,233 6.24
Florida (FL) 14,723 23,062 8,339 57% $29,044 0.29
Ohio (OH) 22,756 30,471 7,715 34% $49,378 0.60
Illinois (IL) 19,097 25,634 6,537 34% $49,884 0.45
Arkansas (AR) 11,084 17,217 6,133 55% $57,054 1.39
Michigan (MI) 14,450 19,972 5,522 38% $45,962 0.50
New Mexico (NM) 24,928 29,301 4,373 18% $72,348 3.57
Mississippi (MS) 10,192 14,040 3,848 38% $55,205 1.21
Kentucky (KY) 27,432 31,070 3,638 13% $73,055 1.71
Alaska (AK) 16,040 19,511 3,471 22% $121,743 5.56
Nevada (NV) 15,529 18,089 2,560 16% $80,076 1.57
Virginia (VA) 12,776 15,242 2,466 19% $63,225 0.41
Minnesota (MN) 8,016 10,215 2,199 27% $58,940 0.39
Wyoming (WY) 31,777 33,920 2,143 7% $87,036 11.33
New York (NY) 12,065 14,201 2,136 18% $45,107 0.17
Alabama (AL) 10,634 12,604 1,970 19% $75,769 0.67
Indiana (IN) 10,063 11,897 1,834 18% $55,984 0.44
Utah (UT) 13,856 15,654 1,798 13% $70,992 1.21
Tennessee (TN) 7,107 8,798 1,691 24% $47,659 0.33
Arizona (AZ) 16,163 17,724 1,561 10% $65,681 0.72
Montana (MT) 10,156 11,534 1,378 14% $72,440 2.41
Maryland (MD) 3,406 4,631 1,225 36% $34,178 0.17
North Carolina (NC) 6,835 7,868 1,033 15% $31,821 0.19
Wisconsin (WI) 4,592 5,568 976 21% $40,373 0.21
Washington (WA) 6,442 7,356 914 14% $40,471 0.25
South Carolina (SC) 2,597 3,506 909 35% $28,779 0.18
Iowa (IA) 3,244 4,116 872 27% $37,057 0.26
Nebraska (NE) 2,095 2,887 792 38% $53,578 0.30
Connecticut (CT) 2,274 3,057 783 34% $76,825 0.18
New Jersey (NJ) 3,516 4,242 726 21% $47,531 0.11
South Dakota (SD) 1,576 2,118 542 34% $40,007 0.49
Missouri (MO) 8,017 8,525 508 6% $47,874 0.32
Oregon (OR) 4,420 4,900 480 11% $34,868 0.29
Hawaii (HI) 733 1,168 435 59% $35,731 0.17
Georgia (GA) 9,362 9,776 414 4% $53,436 0.30
Delaware (DE) 203 588 385 190% $52,245 0.13
Idaho (ID) 4,275 4,612 337 8% $57,685 0.69
Massachusetts (MA) 2,854 3,057 203 7% $101,664 0.09
District of Columbia (DC) 222 398 176 79% $14,225 0.05
Maine (ME) 644 747 103 16% $34,900 0.14
New Hampshire (NH) 1,322 1,359 37 3% $44,172 0.21
Vermont (VT) 1,166 1,168 2 0% $46,301 0.37
Rhode Island (RI) 481 428 (53) (11%) $48,008 0.10
Source: EMSI Complete Employment – 2011.4 BETA

STAFFING PATTERN

Now we want to turn our attention to the top occupations employed by the mining/oil/gas sector and the percentage of the industry that the occupation represents. If you want the full staffing pattern, please contact us. (NOTE: This is just showing the number of workers who staff this industry as opposed to the total employed in ALL industries).

  • 34% of the positions are related to construction and extraction (extraction workers, roustabouts, rotary drill operators).
  • 23% of the positions are related to management (CEOs, operations managers, property managers, supervisors, etc).
  • 20% of the positions are related to production, maintenance and transportation (truck drivers, industrial machinery mechanics, wellhead pumpers).
  • 12% of the positions are related to administration, accounting and legal (accountants, bookkeepers, title examiners).
  • 8% of the positions are related to science and engineering (petroleum engineers, mining engineers, geoscientists).
SOC Code Occupation Employeed in Industry (2011) % of the Total Jobs in Industry (2011)
11-9199 Managers, all other 157,507 12.00%
47-5071 Roustabouts, oil and gas 80,487 6.10%
47-1011 First-line supervisors/managers of construction trades and extraction workers 78,715 6.00%
11-9141 Property, real estate, and community association managers 56,168 4.30%
47-5013 Service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining 48,082 3.70%
11-1021 General and operations managers 39,920 3.00%
47-5081 Helpers, extraction workers 39,181 3.00%
47-2073 Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators 35,904 2.70%
53-3032 Truck drivers, heavy and tractor-trailer 34,143 2.60%
47-5012 Rotary drill operators, oil and gas 31,789 2.40%
47-5011 Derrick operators, oil and gas 27,218 2.10%
19-4041 Geological and petroleum technicians 26,800 2.00%
43-3031 Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks 26,660 2.00%
11-1011 Chief executives 23,753 1.80%
17-2171 Petroleum engineers 23,604 1.80%
53-7073 Wellhead pumpers 23,569 1.80%
51-8093 Petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers 22,732 1.70%
23-2093 Title examiners, abstractors, and searchers 21,040 1.60%
47-5099 Extraction workers, all other 20,678 1.60%
13-2011 Accountants and auditors 19,196 1.50%
19-2042 Geoscientists, except hydrologists and geographers 19,019 1.40%
49-9041 Industrial machinery mechanics 16,191 1.20%
47-5041 Continuous mining machine operators 14,541 1.10%
53-7032 Excavating and loading machine and dragline operators 14,343 1.10%

TOP JOBS FOR 2012

To round out the analysis, we have pulled data on how mining/oil/gas jobs might look in 2012. The data is based on new jobs, annual openings, earnings, total employment and education levels for ALL jobs – not just the ones in the mining/oil/gas sector — so we can see the bigger picture for each career.

SOC Code Description 2011 Jobs 2012 Jobs Change % Change Openings % Openings Annual Openings 2011 Median Hourly Wage Education Level
43-3031 Bookkeeping, accounting, and auditing clerks 2,223,356 2,251,534 28,178 1% 56,139 3% 56,139 $15.57 Moderate-term on-the-job training
11-9199 Managers, all other 2,157,313 2,231,351 74,038 3% 129,742 6% 129,742 $18.24 Work experience in a related field
53-3032 Truck drivers, heavy and tractor-trailer 2,033,812 2,054,333 20,521 1% 64,590 3% 64,590 $17.87 Moderate-term on-the-job training
11-1021 General and operations managers 1,751,678 1,755,541 3,863 0% 61,597 4% 61,597 $42.97 Degree plus work experience
11-9141 Property, real estate, and community association managers 1,659,030 1,735,545 76,515 5% 105,189 6% 105,189 $8.98 Bachelor’s degree
13-2011 Accountants and auditors 1,537,886 1,572,339 34,453 2% 60,744 4% 60,744 $24.12 Bachelor’s degree
47-1011 First-line supervisors/managers of construction trades and extraction workers 772,639 782,208 9,569 1% 25,807 3% 25,807 $24.22 Work experience in a related field
11-1011 Chief executives 624,632 638,375 13,743 2% 31,432 5% 31,432 $42.89 Degree plus work experience
51-4121 Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers 393,402 389,733 (3,669) (1%) 14,478 4% 14,478 $17.01 Long-term on-the-job training
47-2073 Operating engineers and other construction equipment operators 385,565 387,821 2,256 1% 11,029 3% 11,029 $20.07 Moderate-term on-the-job training
49-9041 Industrial machinery mechanics 295,743 295,944 201 0% 7,225 2% 7,225 $21.28 Long-term on-the-job training
49-3042 Mobile heavy equipment mechanics, except engines 136,273 137,287 1,014 1% 4,152 3% 4,152 $21.39 Postsecondary vocational award
23-2093 Title examiners, abstractors, and searchers 111,048 114,125 3,077 3% 4,816 4% 4,816 $17.71 Moderate-term on-the-job training
47-5071 Roustabouts, oil and gas 84,956 87,086 2,130 3% 3,964 5% 3,964 $15.57 Moderate-term on-the-job training
53-7032 Excavating and loading machine and dragline operators 76,507 76,861 354 0% 3,057 4% 3,057 $17.28 Moderate-term on-the-job training
51-8093 Petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers 55,293 56,066 773 1% 2,517 5% 2,517 $25.89 Long-term on-the-job training
47-5013 Service unit operators, oil, gas, and mining 49,695 50,932 1,237 2% 2,320 5% 2,320 $18.50 Moderate-term on-the-job training
47-5081 Helpers, extraction workers 44,007 45,058 1,051 2% 1,985 5% 1,985 $16.29 Short-term on-the-job training
19-2042 Geoscientists, except hydrologists and geographers 42,828 44,312 1,484 3% 2,719 6% 2,719 $35.45 Master’s degree
19-4041 Geological and petroleum technicians 32,467 33,939 1,472 5% 2,642 8% 2,642 $19.27 Associate’s degree
47-5012 Rotary drill operators, oil and gas 32,882 33,372 490 1% 1,296 4% 1,296 $24.74 Moderate-term on-the-job training
17-2171 Petroleum engineers 30,888 32,194 1,306 4% 2,009 7% 2,009 $50.02 Bachelor’s degree
47-5011 Derrick operators, oil and gas 27,527 27,979 452 2% 1,117 4% 1,117 $20.57 Moderate-term on-the-job training
53-7073 Wellhead pumpers 24,268 24,795 527 2% 1,379 6% 1,379 $17.69 Moderate-term on-the-job training
47-5099 Extraction workers, all other 21,049 22,027 978 5% 1,360 6% 1,360 $17.10 Moderate-term on-the-job training
47-5049 Mining machine operators, all other 14,535 15,129 594 4% 904 6% 904 $17.61 Moderate-term on-the-job training
47-5041 Continuous mining machine operators 14,541 14,507 (34) 0% 496 3% 496 $21.37 Moderate-term on-the-job training
Total 14,633,821 14,910,391 276,570 2% 604,706 4% 604,706 $21.92
Source: EMSI Complete Employment – 2011.4 BETA

1. High Demand: Managers

When considering a sector like this, most job-seekers likely have images of coveralled workers on the frozen tundra or an oil derrick (like our illustration at the top of the article!). However, property managers and “managers, all other” are two of the top-demand occupations. Furthermore, general and operations managers, CEOs, and first line supervisors make up a major part of the employment and also have a lot of projected demand. The big thing to note about these various management positions is the difference in wages. Property managers make only $9 an hour, “managers, all other” makes just over $18 per hour, and operations managers make about $43 per hour. Wages can differ region to region, so we would encourage local analysis as well. For a general sense of what these jobs actually entail, we have included a standard description of three of them below. NOTE: The occupation definitions come straight from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Standard Occupational Classification System.

  • Property managers – Plan, direct or coordinate the selling, buying, leasing or governance activities of commercial, industrial or residential real estate properties. They include managers of homeowner and condominium associations, rented or leased housing units, buildings or land (including rights-of-way).
  • Managers, all other – This category is a general catch-all referring to folks who manage different attributes of business.
  • Operations managers – Plan, direct, or coordinate the operations of companies or public and private sector organizations. Duties and responsibilities include formulating policies, managing daily operations and planning the use of materials and human resources.

2. Highest Paid: Engineers, Scientists, and Managers

At $50 per hour, petroleum engineers are the highest paid. Based on the data for new and replacement jobs, we are estimating that there will be at least 3,000 positions for petroleum engineers. Other high-paying jobs are general operations managers ($43 per hour), CEOs ($43 per hour), geoscientists ($35 per hour) and petroleum pump operators ($26 per hour). Below is a description of non-management jobs that job-seekers might want to consider.

  • Petroleum engineers – Devise methods to improve the production of oil and gas wells, besides determining the need for new or modified tool designs. They oversee drilling and offer technical advice to achieve economical and satisfactory progress.
  • Geoscientists – Study the composition, structure and other physical aspects of the earth. They may use geological, physics and mathematics knowledge in exploration for oil, gas, minerals or underground water; or in waste disposal, land reclamation or other environmental problems.
  • Petroleum pump operators – Control the operation of petroleum refining or processing units. May specialize in controlling manifold and pumping systems, gauging or testing oil in storage tanks, or regulating the flow of oil into pipelines.

3. Most Abundant Need: Technicians, Operators, and Skilled Trades

Most of the jobs (we identified 17 out of the top 27  in our staffing pattern) are technical occupations. These generally require moderate or long-term on-the-job training, and pay from $15 an hour for jobs such as roustabouts and extraction workers, up to $25 per hour for pump operators, drill operators and heavy equipment mechanics. Across the entire sector, the construction, extraction and maintenance jobs make up more than 50% of the total employment. These tend to be the types of jobs people think about when you mention this sector–the jobs where you get your hands dirty. Below is a quick description of three of the more common jobs we found.

  • Rotary drill operators – Set up or operate a variety of drills to remove petroleum products from the earth, as well as find and remove core samples for testing during oil and gas exploration.
  •  Heavy equipment mechanics – Diagnose, adjust, repair or overhaul mobile mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic equipment (such as cranes, bulldozers, graders and conveyors) used in construction, logging and surface mining.
  • Petroleum pump system operators – Control the operation of petroleum refining or processing units. May specialize in controlling manifold and pumping systems, gauging or testing oil in storage tanks, or regulating the flow of oil into pipelines.

4. Don’t Forget to Mention: Administrators

As with any industry, there are lot of folks who keep the books, contracts, and numbers all in order. And as operations increase, so will the need for people like bookkeepers ($16 per hour) and accountants ($24 per hour).

So generally, the domestic prospects for the mining, oil and gas extraction are good. We are also seeing that this relatively small sector is having big impacts on different state economies. See here, here and here for how the industry is changing the face of North Dakota.

CONTACT us via email or Twitter @desktopecon

lllustration by Mark Beauchamp

4 Responses to “Top Oil and Gas Occupations for 2012”

  1. Katherine Goodman

    Your data from EMSI Complete Employment-2011.4 was listed as the data source in a Workforce Connections’ report titled:

    “FRAC SAND MINING Industry Report” by Workforce Connections, Inc. http://www.workforceconnections.org/images/frac_sand_mining_report_21112.pdf.

    In the first page of this report it was stated that the 2011 Average Earnings Per Worker was $136,363. On Page 3 it stated that the top 2011 Average Hourly Earnings were $22.81 for operating engineers & other construction equipment operators (SOC Code 47-2073). This top hourly rate comes nowhere near an annual wage of $136,363.

    Is this an error in your data or an error by Workforce Connections? Your feedback is appreciated.

    • Joshua Wright

      Katherine, thanks for the question. Workforce Connections, in showing the top occupations in the industrial sand mining industry, sorted the table by jobs — not wages. So operating engineers & other construction equipment operators have a median wage of $22.75, but they’re not the highest-paid occupations in that industry for the region; rather, they have the most reported jobs.

      I looked at EMSI data for this particular eight-county (WDA #9) region, and it’s hard to say which occupations are driving the high industry earnings because there are so few sand mining jobs overall. However, for the state, engineer managers, chief executives, and general & operations managers — basically any owner, executive or management position inside sand mining — likely earn very high wages and are leading to the high average earnings estimate.

      Please note, in EMSI Complete, industry earnings are the total of three components:
      - Wages and salaries;
      - Supplements to wages and salaries (includes employer contributions to private and/or government employee pension and insurance funds, as well as employer contributions to government social insurance – note that this is the figure shown as “supplements” in EMSI Analyst);
      - Proprietors’ income

      For sand mining in this region, there are no proprietors that we can tell in our data — but it’s important to remember that EMSI’s industry earnings include supplements. In this case, supplements account for nearly $29,000. So wages and salaries, by themselves, for sand mining are $107,469.

      I hope this clarifies things. Let me know if you have any further questions.

      -Josh

  2. Candice

    Thеrе’s definately a lot to learn about this subject. I really like all the points you’ve mаde.

  3. Patricia Parker

    Since, the 2012 Presidential Election, a tidal wave has ripped away thousands of jobs from the oil and gas industry. Has your team re-evaluated this recent economic trend? Abstractor – Lafayette, LA