If you’re in petroleum engineering, you’re time has come. If you’re an employer, get ready to shell out the big bucks for your employees. The oil and gas boom has sent engineering salaries sky high in fields all across the board as well: mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, marine engineering, electrical engineering, architectural engineering, civil engineering. Pay scales are up in ever facet of the industry, from welders, pipers, plumbers, and electricians as well.
Engineers are in vogue these days, thanks to huge shale strikes in the Permian Basin, the Eagle Ford, and the Bakken, just to name a few. Having to fend off headhunters as employers fight over them is just one new skill engineers have to learn these days. In a word of supply and demand, the time is certainly right to be in the engineering field.
“It’s an all out war for talent,” says Houston-based Gladney Darroh, president of Piper-Morgan Associates Personnel Consultants. Piper-Morgan specializes in recruiting engineers for the oil and gas industry. “Right now the hardest individuals to recruit are people who have anywhere from five to 15 years of experience. That’s a real sweet spot right now.”
In fact, recruiters are reporting that right now finding the right engineering professional for the right job is taking twice as long as with other professions. Salaries are going through the roof.
“Salaries can reach as high as $200,000 to $350,000 for engineering professionals in senior, but not executive, managerial roles,” says Dane Groeneveld, director of engineering recruitment at NES Global Talent.
In fact, the gap is so wide that many are predicting it could even slow growth in the oil and gas industry. E&P is moving at such a breakneck pace, there just aren’t enough qualified and experience engineers to fill the spots.
Don’t blame it on techies
Some say one of the big reasons for the shortage is that so many people who would have gone into engineering decided instead, with the IT boom of the 90s, to get into computers instead. Others blame the boom or bust mentality of the profession itself. Ultimately it all falls back to the simple fact that the current shale boom is like nothing the country has ever seen before.
Now, for those who decided to get into engineering during the lean years, all the hard work is paying off. Huge salaries are made even more attractive by signing bonuses, premium medical coverage, paid vacations, whatever the employer has to offer to get the talent he needs.
“They recognize that if that talent walks out the door it’s going to be very expensive and time-consuming to replace them,” says Darroh. Engineers who have long since retired are even being enticed to return to their profession,
Not just for the old guard
Even young engineers are getting in on the action. Huge salaries for engineers coming straight out of college are hitting new record highs every year. In some fields like chemical engineering, salaries are up 25 percent in the past few years alone.
While the oil and gas boom is siphoning off most the good talent, that doesn’t mean engineers don’t have options. Other industries like mining, manufacturing, and pharmaceuticals have been hiring all the engineers they can get their hands on. And this is happening all over the world, not just in the US.
“We’re being pulled in a lot of directions right now. I think the competition for talent is really broad,” says Groeneveld.
…original content by PPE