If you’re considering starting your career in the oil and gas industry, you have to be prepared to face fierce competition. Applications for coveted graduate schemes come from across the globe, mainly given that the business offers some of the highest starting salaries for new-starters.
As a world-spanning sector, graduates with their sights set on working in gas and oil aren’t limited by location. If you’re a determined graduate or soon-to-be graduate who’s open to travel, it’s definitely worth considering moving abroad to chase employment opportunities.
Top 5 countries offering the highest average salary in the Oil and Gas industry*
If you’re looking for a world-beating salary, these countries, and the companies operating in them, offer the best for graduates.
1. Australia, $164,000
You’ll find many of the world’s largest oil and gas corporations in Australia. The industry makes up a major part of Australia’s economy and is home to well-known companies like Chevron, Shell and ExxonMobil Australia.
Australia has, however, suffered a decline in average salaries throughout 2014; some sectors have seen salaries decline by as much as 15%.  The average salary still ranks very highly, but it’s worth doing further research about the companies you are interested in for an up to date salary figure.
2. South Korea, $156, 000
With the second highest average salary, South Korea offers some great career opportunities in the industry. The Korean National Oil Corporation is one of the most important industrial companies in the entire country, and enjoyed revenues of $4.1 billion in 2014.
3. Thailand, $143,200
Chevron, Total, Mitsui and BG Group all have a major presence in Thailand’s petroleum sector and the country is the second largest producer of coal in South East Asia, with jobs in the extractive industries being readily available.
4. Vietnam, $142,200
Just below Thailand in the rankings is Vietnam, with a reported average salary of $142,200. The industry is currently the nation’s biggest foreign currency earner, contributing 28-30% of the country’s yearly budget, and is currently enjoying something of a growth spurt – oil production increased by 11% in the first half of 2015.
5. United Kingdom, $91,800
If you don’t fancy moving abroad, the average salary in the UK’s oil industry is very desirable. The UK Continental Shelf production region is home to industry giants such as Shell, Chevron and Total, while BP’s headquarters are located in London.
It’s important to note that graduates in Global Supermajor companies usually earn more than graduates in any other type of company (BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, Total). The average starting salary for a graduate in one of these companies is $61,000 – a healthy sum.
* Data for average salary has been taken from the Hays Report, 2013. This was before the Oil Crash in the Summer of 2014, so salaries may currently be lower than quoted.
Highest paid sectors for Graduates
If you’ve yet to decide which sector of the oil and gas industry you’d like to specialise in, we’ve narrowed down the top five sectors that offer the highest average graduate salaries, utilising data taken from the Hays Salary Guide 2015.
1. Business Development / Commercial: $48,700
2. Geoscience: $48,000
3. Reservoir / Petroleum Engineering: $47,200
4. Subsea / Pipelines: $44,200
5. Electrical: $41, 000
Graduate starting salaries in every area of the oil and gas industry tend to rank highly against most roles throughout the economy-at-large, so it makes sense to choose a specialism that truly interests you, allowing you to get the most out of the job for years to come.
If you have the drive to succeed in a particular oil and gas role, the sky really is the limit, however, in such a competitive industry, we recommend to all undergrads and graduates that they gain as much work experience as possible, as the expertise is vital for gaining entry into most roles.