zqyruzqrfbycsdxbeqbqyzysdrx

Geologist Pay Reflects Demand

Manpower: ‘A shortage across the board’

It has become a familiar story that began three years ago: Manpower needs in the upstream industry coupled with the need to find more resources are causing big rises in salaries for petroleum geologists.

Hold that thought. You’ll probably be hearing that again for a while.

The 2008 AAPG EXPLORER salary survey showed a weighted average increase of 9.45 percent in pay for geoscientists. Last year’s survey showed a 9.1 percent increase, following a 16 percent boost in 2005-06.

A 35 percent rise in salaries over three years is memorable – and it doesn’t look like there’s anything in the near future to slow the upward salary projectory.

The EXPLORER survey, conducted annually since 1981 by Mike Ayling of MLA Resources in Tulsa, showed the 6-9-year experience category charting the largest increase, with an 18.6 percent rise in salaries.

Please log in to read the full article

It has become a familiar story that began three years ago: Manpower needs in the upstream industry coupled with the need to find more resources are causing big rises in salaries for petroleum geologists.

Hold that thought. You’ll probably be hearing that again for a while.

The 2008 AAPG EXPLORER salary survey showed a weighted average increase of 9.45 percent in pay for geoscientists. Last year’s survey showed a 9.1 percent increase, following a 16 percent boost in 2005-06.

A 35 percent rise in salaries over three years is memorable – and it doesn’t look like there’s anything in the near future to slow the upward salary projectory.

The EXPLORER survey, conducted annually since 1981 by Mike Ayling of MLA Resources in Tulsa, showed the 6-9-year experience category charting the largest increase, with an 18.6 percent rise in salaries.

Closely behind with 17.7 percent in salary growth was the 3-5-year experienced geologist category, which showed an average annual salary of $107,800.

Ayling noted the large increases reflect the shortage of young professionals in those experience categories. Ah, the magic of supply and demand works again.

It also indicates the industry’s focus on reloading vacancies being created by retirements, and on retaining new and recent hires.

The almost negligible increase in salaries of new hires “is possibly skewed low by a few bachelor of science-degreed geologists employed by very small companies,” Ayling said. Also, cash bonuses are not calculated in the salary survey. A master’s degree for entry-level geologists has been the norm. But again, the demand is overwhelming the supply.

Is there a shortage of graduates available for new hires?

“There’s a shortage across the board – in all categories,” Ayling said, noting that the students who signed up due to the rising energy prices that took off in late 2004 are still matriculating through the educational system and are not yet having a major impact on the market.

Meanwhile, the demand for geoscientists continues to grow.

Part of the Picture

The annual salary survey is based on employed, salaried geoscientists and is based on salaries alone. It does not include bonuses, employee benefits, autos or other perquisites.

It does not attempt to include anyone whose compensation is in the form of consulting fees, retainers or overrides, which Ayling said are on the increase as well.

The purpose of the survey is to provide a yardstick for those interested in assessing their compensation, and Ayling strongly feels that compensation is often a secondary consideration when evaluating overall job satisfaction.

The survey also is based on U.S. salaries only, considered the “gold standard” for the industry. The measurement for international salaries for explorationists is virtually on a country-by-country, case-by-case basis, Ayling said, which makes statistical averaging non-productive beyond the boundaries of any specific country.

Ayling added that many ex-pats are paid U.S.-based salaries, while the national oil companies opt to pay compatriots on a different, lower scale.

Again in the 2008 survey, Ayling said over half of the salaries noted in the survey represent individuals with over 20 years of experience – the largest category of the working geologists. Those geologists entered the profession in the 1970s when prices caused a whopping growth spurt in numbers, followed by almost two decades of alternating layoffs and inconsistent hiring policies.

Many experienced people are seeing very attractive retention bonuses, participations and other incentives, Ayling said. This has mitigated a lot of job-hopping, with the “golden handcuffs” keeping performers from answering the lures of suitors. At least for a while. Those incentives are usually time-bound, and Ayling noted that once those time obligations are met, the shackles are off. Then, watch out, unless the workplace becomes “unleavable” due to professional satisfaction.

Ayling also said the salary figures are feeling more upward pressure this spring “as many smaller companies try to staff up to capitalize on $100-plus oil.”


2007 Geological Salary Survey

YEARS EXPERIENCE HIGH AVERAGE LOW
0-2 $ 95,000  $ 82,800  $ 58,000 
3-5 145,000 107,800  80,000
6-9 153,000 121,100  99,000
10-14 155,000 119,800 100,000
15-19 185,000 151,600 101,000
20-24 260,000 167,400 134,000
25+ 200,000 162,800 130,000

Average Salary by Degree

YEARS EXPERIENCE B.S. M.S. PH.D.
0-2 $ 72,300  $ 86,600  $ 95,000 
3-5  91,000  97,500 145,000
6-9  99,000 134,500 105,200
10-14 102,000 120,000 155,000
15-19 101,700 172,500 134,900
20-24 157,000 159,000 202,500
25+ 164,500 159,800 176,700

Historical Averages

YEARS EXPERIENCE AVERAGE SALARY
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
0-2 $ 59,700  $ 64,000  $ 65,000  $ 65,600  $ 67,800  $ 74,400  $ 82,200  $ 82,800 
3-5  66,000  67,500  71,200  67,700  75,600  81,300  89,600 107,800
6-9  74,200  74,500  78,300  75,700  77,500  95,400  98,500 121,100
10-14  89,400  95,000  96,600  91,900 107,500 114,400 111,500 119,800
15-19 100,600  99,400 102,500 102,500 116,000 119,600 141,000 151,600
20-24 111,700 111,600 113,900 118,100 112,800 139,000 155,000 167,400
25+ 117,300 124,000 126,900 125,100 128,300 134,100 149,900 162,800
zqyruzqrfbycsdxbeqbqyzysdrx

You may also be interested in ...