Despite one of the worst global financial meltdowns in the last 70 years, the oil and gas industry seems to have emerged out of the recession relatively untouched. Rather than cut jobs and rein in on expenditure and exploration, the industry has adopted a policy of 'wait and see' by freezing wages and basically keeping the industry on tick over. The policy seems to have paid off - as the world finally starts to see light at the end of the economic tunnel, the oil and gas industry is poised to take full advantage of the upturn in demand for supplies as industry presses the 'on' button.
A wealth of opportunities
For oil and gas jobs, this presents a wealth of new opportunities. The world's dependency on oil and gas products is growing, not receding. Although alternative fuels are very much on the agenda for everyone, the exploration of the planet's natural resources continues unabated. This means new methods of extraction, deep drilling and oil sands, which in turn equates to a plethora of new opportunities for those looking for a career move into a boom industry.
On the face of it there are plenty of pros in making the move into an oil job or gas job. The most obvious one for anyone looking for a long-term career is the pay. Oil and gas jobs have a reputation for paying well, even at entry-level positions. Hard work is well rewarded, with basic drilling jobs paying up to US$50,000 a year. The more experience a candidate has, the greater the rewards and graduates going into oil and gas can expect to be paid much more than in other graduate positions in alternative industries.
Career advancement is also high on the list, with hard work again being rewarded by rapid promotion. Candidates who show initiative, good team working skills and determination can quickly rise up through the ranks to more responsible positions. Roustabouts, the most common entry-level position, can become drillers in a matter of a few years, making oil and gas jobs ideal for those who want a career but may not have the formal qualifications to go into more academically demanding jobs.
For those who want to see a bit of the world, a job in these industry presents the ideal opportunity to travel abroad, as the industry is an international one. From the offshore platforms of the North Sea to new fields opening up in Australia, there is a wealth of chances to travel and be part of a global industry, as well as earning a good salary.
Still a dangerous occupation
So what are the cons to jobs in oil or gas? Recent events in the Gulf of Mexico have emphasised that, although one of the most high-tech of industries, oil exploration is still a dangerous occupation. Safety is a primary concern within the oil and gas industry, but if you are thinking about going into the sector then you must be aware that, like most heavy industry, it does carry its own particular risks.
Rig work in particular is hard, gruelling and very dirty work. For those who like to wear a collar and tie to work, careers in oil and gas are still available, but perhaps within a different context such as research and development, personnel and what are termed as 'upstream' jobs. The nature of the work means that you may spend long periods away from home, so for candidates with families, the separation can be hard to deal with initially. However, rig teams build close ties and many consider their rig colleagues to be a 'second family', forming bonds that can last a lifetime.
If you're prepared to work hard, use your initiative and don't mind getting your hands a little dirty, jobs in oil or gas can offer a chance to develop a career, rather than just another nine to five job.