Oil and Gas Compensation Rises in Europe, Declines in Middle East

Europe Edges out Australia to Become Top Earning Region in the World

Aberdeen and Dubai – February 26, 2014—Average compensation for oil and gas professionals in Europe rose significantly last year whilst pay for professionals in the Middle East fell, according to Rigzone, the leading online resource for oil and gas information, data and talent.

In Europe, oil and gas compensation increased 14 per cent year/year to £72,714 on average in 2013.  Not only did pay rise for Europe-based oil and gas professionals, but the region is now the highest paid in the world edging out Australia/Oceania (£72,230) and Africa (£70,780). The US averaged $92,160 (£58,953).

Conversely, the Middle East region is last on the list for oil and gas professionals’ pay, with 2013 compensation averaging £54,029 ($84,462), down 10 per cent year/year.

“Professionals in Europe have particularly benefitted from the record investment levels now being poured into the North Sea following the British Government’s moves last year to support deeper-sea exploration on the Continental Shelf,” said Dominic Simpson, an executive at Rigzone, EMEA and APAC.  “It reflects the ever changing landscape of the global oil and gas market, which sees certain regions and professions benefitting at any given time.  At present companies are pulling out all the stops to recruit engineers and subsea experts – preferably with North Sea experience.”


Whilst gains were broad-based across levels of experience in Europe, those joining the oil and gas industry saw the largest gains with first year earnings averaging £57,650 in 2013, followed by professionals with two to five years of experience (£58,638 on average).

“There was a similar experience in North America, with pay rising for professionals early in their career,” added Mr. Simpson.  “It’s an investment in the future and representative of better, longer-term workforce planning by companies.”

For UK citizens – working in Europe’s energy patch – was lucrative, with pay averaging £79,522 in 2013, well above the regional average and the global average of £61,294.

Middle East

Despite the drop in average compensation for the region, only nine per cent of oil and gas professionals in the Middle East saw their individual compensation decline in 2013, compared to 66 per cent of professionals with an increase in pay and 25 per cent with stable compensation.

The sharpest decline in average compensation came for those professionals with more than 20 years of experience, dropping 12 per cent year/year to average £75,920 ($118,684) in 2013.  Likewise, oil and gas professionals working a rotational schedule experienced a similar decline, with compensation down 11 per cent year/year to £58,371 ($91,250).

“There are many companies and organizations working in the Middle East to build strong, local oil and gas expertise.  As this continues to take hold, companies will be less dependent on expats creating more career opportunities for nationals,” said Mr. Simpson.


The Rigzone Compensation Tracker records real-time compensation information from oil and gas professionals on an ongoing basis. From 2012 through 2013, a total of 20,851 oil and gas professionals provided compensation information, with 1,728 working in Europe and 2,710 in the Middle East. Cypress Research Group, a statistical consulting firm, performed the analysis of the data.

About Rigzone
Rigzone, a Dice Holdings Inc. service, is a leading online resource for the oil and gas industry delivering content, data, advertising and career services. Dedicated to bringing upstream oil and gas news and data, including in-depth information on exploration, drilling and production markets to organizations tackling the energy challenge, its online community of highly-skilled and experienced energy professionals is unmatched. www.rigzone.com

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