Oil & Gas Wages Climb 3% in 2011

Rigzone says compensation for energy professionals averaged more than $99,000 last year, an increase of more than $2,500 from a year earlier.

Higher drilling activity and healthy oil prices were among the biggest factors driving salary increases. Analyst Trey Cowan says a shrinking workforce is also putting pressure on the industry.

"The biggest bulk of your employees are between the ages of 45 and 65. They are the ones with more experience -- you know, fifteen, twenty years of experience and sometimes greater. The replacement cost of them was about double their salary. Their premium that they’ll get in the marketplace relative to other industries is that much stronger, because you would rather keep that employee than go have to pay the replacement cost for another one."

Oil and gas companies are also offering a premium to recent graduates as a way of enticing them into the industry. Earnings for workers with less than a year of experience jumped 9% in 2011 compared to those in 2010.

Andrew Schneider. KUHF Business News.

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