The NO Vote

No one, not one, nobody. That’s the number one answer from oil and gas professionals on just who of their colleagues are underpaid. Less experience in the industry equates to even stronger feelings that compensation broadly matches job contribution.

In fact, 35 percent of respondents with less than one year in the industry voted that none of their colleagues were underpaid, compared to 23 percent of those with more than 15 years of experience, according to more than 2,000 oil and gas professionals who responded to the Rigzone survey.

While each experience group voted none as their top answer, a signicant stepdown clearly occurs when oil and gas professionals hit their rst anniversary.

Certainly, energy is a well-paying industry for many. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average wages in the oil and gas exploration and production sectors range from $22,160 to $212,680 in 2010 (the last year data is currently available) depending on role. Thirty-two roles cracked six-gures including petroleum engineers, geoscientists, purchasing managers, marketing managers and health and safety engineers. But, there are 25 roles detailed falling below the national average wage at less than $41,000.

Colleagues toiling in oil and gas trades ranked second for most underpaid according to their energy peers. Many of these employees must meet the physical demands of their jobs, such as lifting 50 pounds of equipment, assembling and disassembling tools, and working in extreme weather conditions.

Number three on the list of most underpaid: production professionals. Rotational schedules are a tough lifestyle and production colleagues are making risk assessments and complex decisions with a range of ever changing inputs.

No one believes working in the oil and gas industry lacks challenge, but it appears that energy professionals are nding it hard to note just which colleagues are getting short changed in their paychecks.