For anyone interested in a career in the oil and gas industry, here is an insight into oil and gas jobs, how to progress and, just as importantly, how salaries develop as you grow in what can be a very rewarding career for the right candidate.

Construction and engineering roles within the oil and gas industry in the UK are wide and varied, and in most cases will not require you to set a foot offshore. Perhaps surprisingly, most jobs within oil and gas are located onshore, although they are often based on the key supply areas of Aberdeen and the East of England. There are opportunities across the UK, however, often with potential for overseas travel if that appeals. Randstad can assist when searching for oil and gas jobs.

Entry to these roles is possible at all levels, from school leaver through to the experienced engineer, although many people enter the industry after gaining experience in other engineering disciplines. Graduates with science and engineering qualifications will find themselves most in demand, even when it comes to senior management roles, which would also require several years of relevant experience and possibly a further industry-based qualification.

Optimising your salary expectations.

The oil and gas industries do offer a wide range of specific professional development and qualification opportunities, of which candidates who are hoping to progress in their careers would be expected to take advantage. All offshore roles also require specific health and safety qualifications, the MIST (Minimum Industry Safety Training) course and BOSIET (Basic Offshore Safety and Induction & Emergency Training) certificate, which are often self-sponsored. Some qualifications, such as those gained through Petroleum Open Learning, are recognised by a multitude of employers across many countries, opening up more career opportunities.

Often these qualifications are self-learning, meaning employees have to be dedicated to fit them around their on-going work, but the rewards in terms of career and salary progression can be significant. An apprentice, for example, could enter into an engineering career straight from taking their ‘A’ levels, and then would be expected to undertake a related HND, or possibly a degree, and then work towards Chartered Engineer status. The apprentice could then expect to gain promotion to senior and principal engineer, and then possibly move into management.

Salary progression.

In terms of salary progression, the apprentice is likely to start on around £20,000 per annum, but once career qualifications and a few years’ experiences have been attained, this could rise to more than £50,000. Overseas work can be very lucrative, depending on the exact location, although hours of work and holidays can differ from the UK norm. Often, overseas work is on a fixed-term contract basis, so can be combined with UK employment for other months in the year.

Becoming a self-employed contractor can also be a way of boosting a salary, although self-employment is not for everyone. The required discipline, ability to cope with changing situations and an on-going cycle of job applications need a dedicated personality. For those suited to the lifestyle, however, the increased day rates can be substantial.