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  • Writer's pictureDave Boyer

Upstream Oil and Gas Employment - By Profession

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

Over the past decade, the upstream oil and gas industry has observed employment changes due to cyclical trends and a secular shift.

  • Cyclical Trends: Broad employment levels correlating to oil and natural gas prices

  • Secular Shift: Shale development, leading to a fundamental change in exploration and a focus on efficiency and "manufacturing" production models

To show the changes over time, I pulled data sets from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. My previous overviews used the monthly reported information. In this report, I am primarily using the annual Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS).

The data set runs from 2012 - 2020. The analysis highlights both cyclical and secular shifts to employment in the upstream industry.

2012 - E&P companies hold a high percentage of technical and exploration experts

2020 - Efficiencies, technology advancement, & core development shift corporate priorities. A depreciation of technical expertise.

A few examples:

  • Engineers

    • Remain the largest group in E&P companies

    • Overall employment down 45% vs 2012

    • More individuals out of E&P vs any other group

  • Geoscientists

    • A steady decline in employment starting before sector employment reduction

    • Overall employment down 58% vs 2012

  • IT

    • A growth field across the industry

    • Gained proportional share in both E&P and OFS

    • Surpassed Geoscience employees in 2016

  • Rig Workers

    • An increased proportional share of OFS employment

    • Overall employment down 36% vs 2012

    • More individuals out of industry vs any other group

The data set isn't perfect, but it does show changes in the industry as it continues to evolve.

Download the full presentation below.

Download PDF • 7.44MB

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