Wages in energy and mining have grown at nine times the rate of all industries since 2008, and starting salaries for petroleum engineering graduates are about $98,000, up 9.7 percent since 2008, according to PayScale Inc.
The need is acute at the newest chemical, refining and export complexes that serve a shale-drilling renaissance that has given U.S. companies the competitive advantage of low gas prices. As shale projects and their infrastructure multiplies, the ensuing war for talent will double labor costs by 2020 for skilled workers such as geoscientists and engineers, according to NES Global and Piper Morgan Associates.I'm a little bit skeptical about these numbers, in that NES Global and Piper Morgan are both petroleum industry recruiting/staffing agencies. That said, the article is chockfull of encouraging statements like this one:
“If you can spell ‘shale,’ you can get a job,” Ryan Lance, chief executive officer of ConocoPhillips, said March 5 at the IHS CERAWeek energy conference in Houston.And this one:
Skilled and experienced workers such as engineers are earning an average of between $183,000 and $285,000 a year depending on the position and experience level and about $120,000 a year after graduating from college, NES data show. Salaries in some fields may double in the next seven years, Groeneveld said.
Demand for skilled workers is so great that companies such as ConocoPhillips have begun to poach graduates from other fields such as electrical, mechanical and civil engineering and develop programs to train them in petroleum engineering, said Sheila Feldman, vice president of human resources for the Houston-based energy company.
...Colleges in Texas and Oklahoma are leading the nation in efforts to tailor programs to industry needs, said Dan Clark, managing partner of Energy Headhunter, a recruiting firm in Houston. The fluidity of movement in the U.S., as well as an increasing willingness in the industry to train non-technical graduates for some jobs such as in North Dakota, will help meet the challenge, he said.There is little doubt in my mind that there is indeed a shortage of classically-trained petroleum engineers in the United States. Strong wage increases*, actual (not projected) spending on petrochemical complexes and the willingness of employers to hire graduates from other fields are all indications that there is an actual shortage of them. Remind yourself of that the next time you hear a politician tell you about scientist shortage and ask yourself -- is the wage increasing? In the immortal words of economist Lindsey Lowell, "have the wage lead the way."
*9.7%! That beats the holy crap out of CPI inflation for that time period (3-4%). For that same time period, the median ACS member lost 7% in salary, I think.