Oil and Gas Workers Among the Best Paid in America

by Nicole Jacobs, Energy in Depth

Thanks to America’s energy renaissance, the energy and utility sector has the highest median salary of any industry in the S&P 500, with the typical worker at one energy company earning almost $200,000 annually, according to the Wall Street Journal.
An analysis of annual pay disclosures by the Journal found that Phillips 66, Anadarko Petroleum Corp, and ExxonMobil topped the list of oil and gas companies, paying their median workers $196,407, $183,445, and $171,375 respectively.
For comparison, the median wage for an American with an advanced degree is $77,324, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Median pay in the energy and utility sector hit $117,000, the Journal reported.
Higher wages are a result of booming American energy production.
The analysis attributed high wages to a tight labor market driven in part by the shale revolution. Between 2017-2018, U.S. oil production increased by 17 percent, while the two top-paying oil and gas companies boosted their median salary by 15 percent.
The Energy Information Administration predicts the United States will increase production by an additional 13 percent in 2019, indicating no end in sight for American production potential. Earlier this year, the Permian Basin surpassed Saudi Arabia’s Ghawar to become the most productive oilfield in the world.
The energy industry is fueling job growth.
 The energy sector isn’t just boosting salaries, it’s also employing more Americans. The energy industry leads all sectors in creating and supporting high-quality jobs, according to the 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report. The industry added 152,000 new jobs in 2018, representing 7 percent of all job creation in the United States.
That report, commissioned by the Energy Futures Initiative and the National Association of State Energy Officials, also revealed that the fuels sector, which includes oil and natural gas exploration and extraction, employed 1,127,600 workers in 2018, an increase of 4.8 percent from the previous year.
As the report notes:
“[O]il and gas production added the most new jobs in the traditional energy sectors as efficiencies and increased prices brought thousands of workers back into the oil and gas fields of Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania. Employment in oil and gas extraction and support services is at its highest level since its recent high in the fall of 2014.”
The energy sector is becoming more diverse.
As wages rise, the industry is also becoming more diverse. Women are increasingly joining the energy industry, and in more senior and highly technical roles, according to a recent report from Oil & Gas IQ:
“[D]espite the global concern around the lack of female representation in energy, the status quo is finally being challenged. More women are claiming to work in a technical role than ever before, contrary to popular belief. There is also better representation of females in management, as well as a strong count in the younger age groups…”
The Wall Street Journal analysis adds to a growing body of evidence of the very real impact the American energy renaissance is having for oil and natural gas workers across the country. As U.S. production continues to soar, American energy companies are thriving, boosting our economy, and providing high-quality jobs for more Americans.

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