Interested in working in the oil and gas sector but not sure about how to go about finding the most appropriate jobs? Let us help with this essential guide to an oil and gas job search.

The oil and gas industry requires a very diverse group of employees, and encompasses a number of different construction and engineering disciplines. For example, contract engineers review bids and tenders for work, mechanical engineers look at the actual design and production of site machinery, and maintenance supervisors work both offshore on rigs as well as onshore in marine bases.

Construction and engineering employees with experience in other industries are likely to have skills that are also in demand in the oil and gas sectors, though all employees need to pass energy sector health and safety training and those looking for offshore roles will need an offshore safety qualification.

Onshore vs. offshore oil and gas jobs.

Contrary to what many people think, most oil and gas jobs are actually onshore, in the main oil and gas producing centres around the coast in the East of England and in Scotland - though jobs often arise elsewhere in the UK and overseas. Whether onshore or offsite suits best will largely be a matter of personal preference, though of course some roles are more likely to require offshore work (for example, drilling engineer).

What to know before applying for oil or gas jobs.

Employees with work experience are often preferred, though opportunities for graduates and school leavers also come up. Those with science and engineering qualifications are most in demand, even for management roles; those going for engineering roles need relevant qualifications, such as a recognised apprenticeship, or NVQs.

Employees would usually be expected to undertake career relevant qualifications, as well as the mandatory health and safety certificates. For those who have recently left school, Upstream Modern Apprenticeships allow training on the job, with two years spent gaining a relevant qualification and then two years gaining relevant work experience. Roustabout or Deck Crew are the entry level points into offshore work without qualifications - though employees must be at least 18.

For those interested in making a career in the oil and gas industry, the first port of call is usually a good employment agency with contacts in the field. They will be able to guide prospective employees towards the most suitable roles, help prepare for interviews, and offer a realistic view of the prospective lifestyle.

Narrowing down the options.

Those thinking about an oil or gas career should first consider what kind of specific role to look for; it might be tempting to cast the net wide, but to a prospective employer that looks indecisive and unreliable. Try to narrow down the field in which you wish to work, and think about future plans – what does an ideal five year career plan look like?

Think about the level of qualification that would be required for the ideal role and be realistic about the work involved, as well as whether overseas employment appeals. Careers in oil and gas are often very transferable into other markets, and with the varied employment on offer, there is likely to be something that appeals to all.