Hays salary survey reflects growing industry confidence

Sept. 1, 2012
Hays, the UK-based recruiting experts in the oil and gas industry, has released its Global Salary Guide for 2012, which includes an economic forecast.

Hays, the UK-based recruiting experts in the oil and gas industry, has released its Global Salary Guide for 2012, which includes an economic forecast. In general, it is reflective of an industry brimming with confidence being led by robust oil prices. Some of the results are worth summarizing here.

In analyzing global salaries and recruiting trends, Hays was very thorough. The firm conducted a survey that encompassed 24 discipline areas, 53 countries, 5,400 employers, and 14,400 total respondents. The number of respondents was up 30% over last year.

Last year’s Global Salary Guide was downloaded by more than 150,000 people and another 10,000 hard copies were distributed at various industry exhibitions and conferences. Obviously it’s compelling reading for many.

Here are some highlights:

  • Nearly 50% of respondents saw a salary increase greater than 5% in the 2012 survey compared to less than 30% of respondents in the 2011 survey.
  • More than 32% of respondents expect their salary to grow by more than 10% in 2012 compared to slightly less than 22% who expected a 10% salary bump the previous year.
  • Salaries remained static for about 30% of respondents in 2012 in comparison with nearly 40% in 2011.
  • Slightly over 4% saw their salary decline in 2012 compared to just over 10% who experienced a salary decrease the prior year.

The figure that jumps out at you in the survey is the average permanent salary across the whole sample (all countries, all occupations covered in the survey). It rose approximately 7% from US$75,813 in the 2011 survey to US$80,458 in 2012. This is a significant increase for salaries across such a large sample, says Hays, and reflects the general buoyancy of the market following the downturn of 2008-2009.

The survey noted that the year saw a flurry of activity from most corners of the globe as countries sought to take advantage of high oil prices and pushed through new developments and rejuvenated the old. The turnaround was significant both in its scale and its global coverage, and this drove up vacancies, hiring, and salaries.

Although the world was certainly not without its share of economic problems, such as the banking crisis in Europe, the petroleum industry was able to overcome these difficulties and continue to expand nearly everywhere. Only two major regions saw overall salary declines – Northern Africa and Mainland Europe. This demonstrates that on a regional level the industry is not immune to social conflict and economic pain.

Hays found the situation in Europe most troubling. The problems in Greece, Portugal, Spain, Ireland, and Italy, in particular, and whether those nations will need to be bailed out by the more robust economic powers such as Germany is currently weighing heavily on equity markets, which can constrain future growth prospects.

Looking at individual countries, the biggest disparity between local average annual salaries and imported (non-local) average annual salaries is in Papua New Guinea where the former is $29,600 and the latter is $189,900. By contrast, the local average in Norway is $180,300 and the imported average is $122,800. In the United Kingdom, the local average is $87,100 and the imported average salary is $80,900. In Canada, the local average is $128,700 and the imported average is $123,300. In the United States, the local average salary is $124,000 and the imported average is $119,200.

If we look at salaries worldwide by company type, the best-paying jobs by average salary are with global super majors and other operators. The lowest-paying positions by average salary are with equipment manufacturers and suppliers and contractors.

If we take salaries around the globe according to discipline area, the best-paying jobs are with production management and subsea/pipelines with business development/commercial coming in just behind. The poorest performing discipline areas with respect to average salaries are logistics and mechanical.

As the market heated up in 2012, so did the concern for skill shortages. This has grown as a percentage of the overall sample from 28% last year to over 30% today. The shortage of skilled workers is the single largest concern expressed by employers in the survey. This is followed by "economic instability (29%), "environmental concerns (13%), "safety regulations (10%), "immigration/overseas visa program (7%), and "security/safety issues caused by social unrest (8%).

Employer confidence in the employment market is on the upswing. In 2011, only 9.7% of employers were extremely positive and 45.1% were positive. A little more than 45% expressed a neutral or negative view. Contrast that with today. In the latest survey, 26.7% were extremely positive and 46.8% were positive. Only 26.5% were neutral or negative.

For more information on the salary survey, visit www.hays-oilgas.com.