(EnergyAsia, February 29 2012, Wednesday) — Wages and confidence are surging in the global oil and gas industry, according to the joint annual salary survey produced by consultants Hays Oil & Gas and leading jobsite Oil and Gas Job Search.

The Salary Guide, based on over 14,000 respondents worldwide, reveals an industry generally brimming with confidence despite widespread concerns over the global economy.

It found that employer confidence has surged, with 26.7% extremely positive about the current market: up from just 9.7% in 2011.

Three quarters of all employers expect staffing levels to increase in the next 12 months.

Matt Underhill, managing director of Hays Oil & Gas, said:

“This level of confidence has far surpassed that which we have seen over the last few years, and contrasts significantly with the wider economic outlook.

“With confidence comes salary increases and this is reflected with an increase in the average worldwide salary for professionals and skilled employees in the industry to US$80,458 per annum (equivalent) up 6.1% in the past 12 months.”

Duncan Freer, managing director of Oil and Gas Job Search, said:

“The oil and gas industry is certainly in good shape and this is coming through loud and clear in our data. There has been a distinct move to employ permanent staff rather than contractors for many oil companies, demonstrating a confidence amongst employers in hiring new staff to cover future workloads.

“This is not to say that contractor demand is falling, with a multitude of new projects coming on line through the year, rates in this sector of the industry are still rising. “

“While many western economies have witnessed anaemic rises in wages, the oil industry has rewarded its professionals with robust growth and a wealth of opportunities. Indeed many industry professionals are rewarded at far higher rates than the average figures suggest, especially if they have a good level of experience or particular in-demand skills such as drilling and the geosciences.”

The US, Canada, Norway, The Netherlands and Australia once again feature prominently in the current guide but, as Mr Underhill points out, there are also areas of tremendous potential around the world.

He said: “Brazil, China and Iraq are rising stars that have seen significant salary hikes driven by huge local investment giving rise to some very exciting and bold projects.

“These positive developments are not to say the industry is without its concerns. Skills shortages have become the most significant of these, and economic and political instability also remain prominent. The guide also highlights demographic issues particularly in the US and other developed economies.

“Salaries are rising as are staffing levels and with a range of promising projects coming to fruition, there is every reason to be upbeat about the oil and gas industry over the coming 12 months and beyond.”