The oil and gas industry is booming and there is a huge demand for workers. Oil and gas employees received the highest pay raises last year. According to PayScale, a firm that tracks salaries, their hourly wages increased by more than 11 percent from April in 2013 to the same month this year. By contrast, the average wage hike across the economy was about 2 percent, which was just enough to keep up with inflation.

Oil and gas industry experts say not only are there plenty of newly created jobs but also thousands of positions will be vacated soon by retiring workers. The American Petroleum Institute warns of a “great crew change,” opening thousands of jobs to workers with the right skills.

During the past decade, the United States has made tremendous strides in producing more domestic energy. Advances in technology, including hydraulic fracturing and directional drilling, have enabled the development of America’s shale formations, greatly increasing the nation’s energy bounty.
The results have been nothing short of spectacular. The United States is now the world’s largest natural gas producer, and by next year the United States is expected to exceed the nation’s oil production record set in 1972.

Furthermore, much of the new energy development has occurred on private land as landowners have signed contracts allowing drilling companies to spud wells on their property. A survey conducted among royalty owners—landowners who have leased their property for energy development—indicates they have been pleased with the outcome. More than 90 percent who responded to the survey say they would lease their land again, if given the opportunity.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that more than 162,000 new U.S. jobs were created from 2007 through 2012. IHS Global Insight says another 1.3 million jobs are expected to be created by 2030.

Jobs in the upstream portion of the oil and gas industry pay more than twice the average national wage, and opportunities abound for college students who are considering declaring a major in engineering. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that petroleum engineers receive a median annual salary of more than $132,000, which is more than many top executives earn and far higher than the U.S. median household income of $51,017 reported in 2012.

Most college students, however, tend to select majors for which they are ill-suited or ill-equipped. According to a study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, engineering is not on the list of the top ten majors, yet it pays significantly more. Perhaps that explains at least part of the reason why so many college graduates find themselves living at home, working at minimum-wage jobs, and burdened with college-loan debt.

The oil and gas industry has been the best-performing business sector in recent years, certainly since the beginning of the Great Recession. And it could offer even more opportunities if the Administration would adopt the right policies, such as opening more federally owned land to exploration. There’s a lot to like about the oil and gas industry, particularly now when the world is becoming an increasingly hostile place.

For workers who want to do something meaningful, the oil and gas industry is on the high side.  For more information visit: http://www.oilandgasrepublic.com

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